The Financial Inclusion Conference, 2012 organized by Sa-Dhan, an association of Community Development Finance Institutions and FICCI, opened today in New Delhi. The theme of this year’s conference is “The first mile walk into the financial system”. Microfinance sector has been and continues to be one of the important delivery channels in providing the much needed service to the poor. . Further this intervention helped in empowerment of women, financial education, livelihoods creation and overall impact in the lives of the poor households.
Welcoming the participants, Mr Mathew Titus, Executive Director, Sa-Dhan said that there are challenges in fulfilling the mandate of financial inclusion, which we need to address.
Mr Amiya Sharma, Chair, Sa-Dhan said that this year’s conference will look at the nuances of the three main streams working in the financial inclusion arena – SHG Bank Linkage, Microfinance Institutions and the BC Model. This conference aims to highlight the dilemmas and challenges of these institutions and the clients they service. Consequently it seeks to deliberate upon the need for appropriate policy interventions to make financial inclusion a reality.
Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Vice President – FICCI and Country head, HSBC-India, in her address said “inclusive growth is a priority for the government, regulators and the industry and it is important that we take a look at how to take this forward”. Over the last few years, RBI has taken several steps for achieving financial inclusion but there is need to measures outcomes. She also identified four enablers for achieving financial inclusion – 1. Simple processes and procedures, 2. Use of technology, 3, Financial literacy and 4.Focus on customer service and consumer protection.
Dr KC Chakraborty, Deputy Governor, RBI, in his inaugural address appreciated the theme of this year’s conference – “The First Mile Walk in to the Financial System”, which focuses on customers rather than the suppliers. “The extent of Financial Exclusion in India in mammoth”, he said. He further said that financial inclusion will require well functioning and efficient financial markets.
He identified the following essential conditions of achieving full financial inclusions –
1. Provision of full range of financial services, credit, deposit, remittance as well as pensions and insurance
2. Meeting requirements of credit for consumption such as education and health
3. Meeting the needs of enterprise finance
4. Provision of services in remote markets
Key delivery channels currently offering financial inclusion services such as MFIs, organisations providing payment and remittance services, SHGs and Business Correspondents are built around the Banking Ecosystem, therefore, banks are key to financial inclusion efforts.
He further said that the institutions which have the ambition to offer full range of financial services should aim to become banks. They should create governance and management structures which allow them to get banking licenses. He also emphasised the need to focus on technology to bring down transaction costs.
The Conference is on till tomorrow i.e. 8th August 2012 from 9 am onwards where the topics like following will be discussed
- Business Correspondents: A Potential Model
- Overcoming Barriers to Resource Flow to MFIs
- Overcoming Barriers to Resource Flow to SHGs and Federations
- Microfinance Regulation: The Emerging Landscape
- Responsible Lending and Way Forward