RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Thursday said financial inclusion will continue to be a “policy priority” for the central to make the post-pandemic recovery more equitable and sustainable. The Reserve Bank of India will very soon be coming out with the first financial inclusion index, which will assess progress in terms of access, usage and quality, Das said, while speaking at the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit.
It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the financial ecosystem (including the digital medium) is inclusive and capable of effectively addressing risks like mis-selling, cybersecurity, data privacy and promoting trust in the financial system through appropriate financial education and awareness, he added.
Since the start of the last decade, financial inclusion has been a key focus area for the RBI to help formalise the economy by ensuring that banks reach the people. Technological advances made it easier and the government also gave it a greater thrust with the launch of the PM Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.
The RBI has encountered challenges for financial inclusion, which include how to identify the customer, reaching the last mile and provide relevant products that are safe, he added.
Scaling up of the Centre for Financial Literacy (CFL) project across the country at the block level by March 2024 is expected to enhance the effectiveness of community-led participatory approaches for greater financial literacy, he said.
Das also said that 15 state education boards have consented to include financial education in their curriculum to ensure kids get going on crucial knowledge. “There is a need for accelerated universal reach of bank accounts along with access to financial products relating to credit, investment, insurance and pension,” he noted. Greater focus is now being given to addressing the vulnerable segments of the economy and population while paying attention to consumer protection and enhancing the capacity of customers so that responsible and sustainable use of financial services can be achieved, the governor said.