COVID-19 and the Unequalizing Infrastructures of Financial Inclusion in Tamil Nadu

Isabelle Guérin, Vincent Guermond, Nithya Joseph, Nithya Natarajan, Govindan Venkatasubramanian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on microfinance borrowers in Tamil Nadu, India. Through an examination of the social and financial infrastructures underpinning inclusive finance, the article demonstrates how the COVID-19 pandemic exposes the limits and exclusionary tendencies of the for-profit financial inclusion industry. The unequalizing breakdown of financial inclusion infrastructures during the pandemic prioritizes future revenue extraction over current livelihood needs, throwing hard-hit borrowers back on hierarchical informal financial and social infrastructures to cope with COVID-19-induced risk. Tracing the experiences of poor microfinance borrowers in Tamil Nadu, this article examines how COVID-19 is reshaping inclusive financial infrastructures in ways that reveal the dynamics of exclusion at the heart of financial inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-951
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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