Bhubaneswar: Financial inclusion is a key to poverty alleviation, but it can’t be achieved without an appropriate policy and result-oriented partnership between the Government, industry, civil society and financial institutions.
Experts argued at a seminar held on the subject by the Centre for Policy, Governance and Advocacy (CPGA) at the CYSD Convention Centre here. Chairman Tejeswar Parida welcomed the guest and introduced the theme to the participants.
Former Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai spoke on “Poverty-free India and Odisha”. He expressed concern that financial literacy is not reaching to everyone and many are excluded in accessing financial support.
Citing slum dwellers’ plights, Ghadai advocated change of mindset of policy makers, bureaucrats, bankers and common people towards a more compassionate approach to the less privileged.
Former Chief Secretary Dr Jugal Kishore Mohapatra stressed that financial inclusion is pre-requisite to achieve livelihood security in the rural areas. To achieve higher financial inclusion, he advised to bring innovation at three levels; customised products, institutions and the enabling system.
Former Tripura Chief Secretary Dr Sanjay Kumar Panda argued that financial inclusion is key to achieve economic justice which is an objective enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. He highlighted three essential requirements for better financial inclusion which are positive mindset, a multidisciplinary team and appropriate use of technology.
Senior journalist Nageswar Patnaik expressed his concern on declining of number of bank branches in rural India from 3,948 in 2018 from 8,948 in 2015. He also added that nearly half of the bank accounts opened in India were not in operation during the last financial year as against 25 per cent at the global level.
Canara Bank CMD Rajendra Kumar Swain shared the timeline of the poverty alleviation initiatives to provide a historical background of the initiatives of financial inclusion.
Nabard GM AP Das outlined a broad strategy for financial inclusion including universal access, sector specific targets, market development, differentiated players, financial literacy, consumer awareness, protection, regulation and expansion of outreach. He also spoke on the Nabard initiatives in capacity building.
CYSD’s Prafulla Kumar Sahu argued that financial inclusion would stop people from getting cheated.
Students and faculty members from the Utkal University, Ravenshaw University, KIIT School of Rural Management, Xavier School of Rural Management and Sri Sri University participated.