New Delhi, Feb 14: Although India has made a lot of progress towards achieving fincial inclusion, a lot more needs to be done, a top government official said on Wednesday. Launching the “State of the Agent Network” report here, government’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said that providing essential goods and services to citizens was only the first policy step towards fincial inclusion. “One of the aims of the government policy is ensuring provision of essential goods and services. That is, of course, the first step to develop fiscal provision into something real and meaningful,” Subramanian said. “You have gas cylinders but you need consistent gas off-take; you have bank accounts but you need to make genuine inclusion; your toilets are built, but are they used? I think that’s the next stage we need to work on,” he said. He added that while India had made a lot of progress on the fincial inclusion front, there was a big gap between opening accounts and actually achieving fincial inclusion. “That is why, the banking correspondents story needs more work,” he said.
India needs more fincial inclusion'
Banking correspondents or agents are engaged by a bank for providing banking services in unbanked and under-banked areas. According to the report released by MicroSave and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, while women hold about 45 per cent of the accounts opened under the Prime Minister’s flagship Jan-Dhan Yoja, only about 8 per cent of the banking agents in India are women. “We need more women agents if we are to sustaibly offer services to women clients, especially in rural areas,” the report said. (IANS)