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The Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit
We at The Economic Times believe that developments in India can be fast tracked only when all segments are incorporated into main stream and provided with financial independence. In a fast growing economy like ours, the poor are the middle class of tomorrow and with the current challenges the financial institutions need to take bold decisions in order to reach out to rural India with new strategies and various business models which are beyond the realm of conventional thinking. With this in purview, The Economic Times is pleased to present the “Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit 2017” centred on the theme “Banking the Unbanked India”.
Banking the Unbanked India
In the recent years, India has emerged as one of the strongest economies shadowing and leading the global growth. While there are multiple reasons behind this growth such as young demographic base, growing incomes, an educated workforce and a stable democracy, etc, there are also underlying challenges of propelling this growth in the right direction. Most significant of these challenges are literacy rates, financial instability and a formal channel to access credit; and rural areas predominately leads this race making the growth inequitable. Understandably, an organized and structured financial assistance specially to the hinterlands will help the nation’s progress grow multifold. As a result, financial Inclusion is one of the top priorities of the government today and an important means for alleviating poverty, providing social cohesion and inclusive growth.

Building on this, the Government of India with a vision of providing bank accounts to every individual recently initiated the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, provision of Rupay Debit cards to more than 100 million beneficiaries and many such benefits. However, the task of providing banking facilities to every individual across the country is not an easy one. One of the critical issues that the country faces with respect to financial Inclusion is that of financial illiteracy. How does a bank make its customers realize that only opening accounts cannot go a long way in financial freedom, but rather it is the account holder’s understanding and knowledge of using the same that can ensure true benefits. Also, how does products like insurance, easy credits and deposits be distributed with minimal risk and finally how do corporate houses ensure their business feasibility? The answers to many such questions can only be found if leading industry stakeholders come together and discuss government policies, implementation challenges and optimal solutions.