Dr. P.V. Viswanath



Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

  Courses /  

FIN 680V/ FIN 360:
Microfinance and Small Business Financing in India


Tentative Timetable









Group Leaves for Chennai in the evening

Arrive late night at Hotel Pride: Chennai

a.m. half-day workshop at IFMR workshop; leave for Pondicherry.  Hotel Sunway GRT Grand

Auroville during the day; dinner with Sampad in the evening in Pondicherry

a.m. Tour of Pondicherry; MF presentation at Aurobindo Ashram; visit to Sharanam Village Development Project; train to  Thanjavur from Villupuram (Tiruchendur express)

Hotel Ideal River View.
a.m. site visit to Puduaaru village;
p.m. Thanjavur tour
Overnight train to Chengalpattu (Karaikal-Chennai express)

3/15 a.m. Drive to Kanchipuram Hotel GRT Regency;
a.m. Hand-in-hand presentation; p.m. Site visits

Drive to Great Lakes Institute of Management near  Mahabalipuram
a.m.: campus tour and interactions with students; afternoon, visit Mahalabalipuram

3/17 Free time in Chennai/ Chennai  and Kanchipuram tour and shopping

2 am flight leaves for the US.  Arrive in US at 1:40 pm


Where will we go in India and what will we do there?


During the trip itself, we will visit Chennai on the eastern coast of India.  While in Chennai, we will visit some small scale enterprises there and talk to the owners and financiers of those enterprises.  Students will also get a 1-day seminar on microfinance in India.  Modern Chennai (formerly Madras) arose from a British settlement called Fort St. George in the 17th century.  As such it is an exciting place to visit for those interested in colonial history.  From Chennai, it is possible to make side trips to many places of artistic, historic and religious interest. 
Some photographs of Chennai

Kancheepuram and Thanjavur:

One such place is Kancheepuram, a town dating from the 7th century with some beautiful temples and also an old and still flourishing textile industry.  Kancheepuram silk sarees are famous all over India.  From Chennai, we will leave for Thanjavur, another historic city with the famous Brihadeeswarar Temple, about 220 miles from Chennai.  Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola kingdom in the 10th and 11th centuries and subsequently of the Thanjavur Nayaks in the 16th and 17th centuries; there are some interesting palaces and forts from that era.  Thanjavur, however, is also known as the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu; its economy is mainly agro-based. 

Pudhuaaru near Thanjavur city is the location of a microfinance venture by IFMR, a primarily non-profit organization devoted ensuring access to financial services for all individuals and enterprises.  IFMR, itself, is involved in many ventures, including the securitization of microfinance loans and the raising of capital to help microfinance institutions.  One part of what IFMR does is handled by IFMR Rural Finance, which is dedicated to the delivery of financial services in rural India.  The IFMR Rural Finance venture in Pudhuaaru is part of a network of companies called Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services (KGFS) created to meet the huge, unmet demand for financial services in rural, under-served parts of India.  The goal of the KGFS companies is financial inclusion. The Pudhuaaru KGFS has more than 60 branches, with each branch offering multiple, client-centric financial services including savings, remittance, insurance, small loans and investments.  The Pace team will visit the different locations of the Pudhuaaru KGFS, see first-hand how this microfinance venture functions and participate directly in specially crafted KGFS programs over a two-day period.  In conjunction with the microfinance seminar which the students will have attended in Chennai, the Pudhuaaru visit will give students will hands-on experience and appreciation of the financial realities of rural life in India. 
Video of the Microfinance operation in Thanjavur
Some photographs of Thanjavur and Kancheepuram

Shopping in Kanchipuram.


On the way to Thanjavur from Chennai is Pondicherry. This is a fascinating city that was one of the last French colonies in India, being transferred to India only in 1954. French influence can still be seen in the names of some of the streets, in the architecture, as well as in a French medium school, which continues to operate under the aegis of the French Ministry of National Education. While in the Pondicherry area, we will visit the Great Lakes School of Management (GLIM), which gives its student a quality management education. One of the farsighted ways in which GLIM distinguishes itself is in requiring all its students to study Chinese language and culture. We will also visit some small business in the area.

This travel course promises to be unique in many ways – in covering an exciting area of modern finance, in visiting a rural Indian locale to see the application of these financial ideas directly, in allowing students to participate personally in some of these ventures and in introducing students to a historic part of south India that is not visited by many travellers to India.
Some photographs of Pondicherry