Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Thursday said that financial inclusion will remain a priority of the central bank to achieve sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery.
Speaking at the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit, Das noted that considering the complementary role played by microfinance in bridging the gaps at the last mile, a consultative document for harmonising the regulatory frameworks for various regulated lenders in the microfinance space was issued recently.
The primary objective is to address the concerns relating to over-indebtedness of microfinance borrowers, enable market mechanism to rationalise the interest rates, and empower the borrowers to make an informed decision by enhancing transparency of loan pricing.
“In order to make the post-pandemic recovery more inclusive and sustainable, financial inclusion would continue to be our policy priority,” he said.
To measure the extent of financial inclusion in the country, the central bank Governor said that “Financial Inclusion Index” (FI Index) will be constructed and periodically published. The Index will have parameters across the three dimensions of financial inclusion — Access, Usage and Quality.
Work on FI Index is underway and the index will be published shortly by the RBI, Das said.
“I would like to reiterate that financial inclusion promotes inclusive growth by way of making financial services including credit and other safety nets available to the bottom of the pyramid. Lessons from the past and experiences gained during the COVID-19 pandemic clearly indicate that financial inclusion and inclusive growth reinforce financial stability.”
He was of the view that greater financial literacy and education, together with sound consumer protection mechanisms will ensure that people at the bottom of the pyramid are empowered to take informed financial decisions.
This will also enable banks, NBFCs, MFIs and others to enhance their customer base and products and diversify their balance sheet.
He emphasised that efforts must continue for greater financial inclusion in pursuance of the goal of sustainable future for all.
There is need for accelerated universal reach of bank accounts along with access to financial products relating to credit, investment, insurance and pension, he added.