As part of IFMR Finance Foundation’s Financial Deepening & Household Finance Research Initiative, the National Stock Exchange & IFMR Finance Foundation recently hosted a two-day Inaugural Conference in Mumbai to present the results of the collaborative research effort underway and to obtain feedback on it. The event saw participation from an array of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers that set the tone for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion on themes within Household Finance.
On the first day of the conference we had the pleasure of hosting Mr. N S Vishwanathan, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, who delivered the keynote address on “Recent Regulatory Developments in Advancing Financial Inclusion”. Outlining the access to finance efforts in India and the correlation between penetration of banking services with economic development, Mr. Vishwanathan emphasised that financial inclusion has always been an important policy focus for the RBI over the past decades. He spoke about the vast credit requirements of people across the country and the need for different types of institutions with varying risk appetites to cater to them; he threw light on the role of RRBs, MFIs and Business Correspondents (BC) in enabling access to finance for the unbanked. Lauding the role of BCs in providing banking services as a major step in financial inclusion, he underscored the need to address the challenges of connectivity and working with banks to make the BC movement more remunerative going forward.
Commenting on the licensing of payments banks and small finance banks as a major milestone in financial inclusion, he underlined that while banks have been asked to make financial inclusion a part of their business, in the case of these differentiated banks, financial inclusion becomes their business. Likewise he also highlighted the importance of Direct Benefit Transfers in addressing leakages and as an important way to address dormancy in bank accounts.
He stressed that the role of RBI is to ultimately provide an enabling environment for financial inclusion to reach the remotest corners of the country and in ensuring that service providers see it not as something that is mandated but as a huge opportunity that is part of their overall strategy.
Watch Mr. N S Vishwanathan’s Keynote in the video below: