By Anand Sahasranaman, IFMR Finance Foundation
Financial inclusion can be said to be complete only when there is access to a suite of appropriate products and services for all the financial needs of a household or enterprise. Households planning for long-term goals such as education of children or retirement planning options, require inflation adjusted returns on investment over substantial time-periods. Households whose asset profile is concentrated in the local village economy need access to investments that will provide them exposure to the national economy. Farmers planning for their next crop require credit bundled with weather insurance that will pay out in case of extreme weather outcomes. An individual who wishes to invest small amounts of Rs.10 a day in a liquid fund must have the option to do so in a seam-less manner. A farmer who requires a life insurance cover of Rs. 8 lakhs must be able to purchase it at a location near her. Each and every household has a combination of such crucial needs that need fulfillment. It is the function of the nation’s financial system to provide accessible and economical product solutions that meet these needs. To make this a reality, there are several hurdles that need addressing.
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