The study was attempted to assess the empowerment of women through microfinance. It was conducted in Cooch Behar District of Eastern India. A total of 144 members from 48 groups of twelve blocks (four SHGs from each block) formed the sample size. To assess the impact paired t-test and Impact Index analysis were done. The study revealed that majority of the members was middle aged and belonged to Scheduled Caste farming family. A number of income generating activities were undertaken by the SHGs. The results showed positive change in indicators of economic empowerment like income (65.39%), employment (78.94%), investment (66.25%), savings (120.02%), assets (32.44%) and consumption (5.12%) of the members after joining the SHG. The calculated t-values for the economic indicators were significant at 1% level. It was revealed from multiple regression analysis that investment, employment generation and assets were the factors which influenced the income of the members significantly. The contribution of these variables was 83%. The gain indexes of social and economic empowerment were found to be 29.30 and 36.37 respectively. Briefly, microfinance through SHG seems to be a unique action oriented rural development strategy to tap the gesture for the upliftment in social and economic point of view.
Key words: Credit, income, employment, savings, economic empowerment, social empowerment.
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