Financial inclusion is the availability of banking services at an affordable cost to disadvantaged and low-income groups. In India the basic concept of financial inclusion is having a saving or current account with any bank. In reality it includes loans, insurance services and much more. The first-ever Index of Financial Inclusion to find out the extent of reach of banking services among 100 countries, India has been ranked 50. Only 34% of Indian individuals have access to or receive banking services. In order to increase this number the Reserve Bank of India had the Government of India take innovative steps. One of the reasons for opening new branches of Regional Rural Banks was to make sure that the banking service is accessible to the poor. With the directive from RBI, our banks are now offering “No Frill” Accounts to low income groups. These accounts either have a low minimum or nil balance with some restriction in transactions. The individual bank has the authority to decide whether the account should have zero or minimum balance. With the combined effort of financial institutions, six million new ‘No Frill’ accounts were opened in the period between March 2006-2007. Banks are now considering FI as a business opportunity in an overall environment that facilitates growth. Financial inclusion mainly focuses on the poor who do not have formal financial institutional support and getting them out of the clutches of local money lenders. As a first step towards this, some of our banks have now come forward with general purpose credit cards and artisan credit cards which offer collateral-free small loans. The RBI has simplified the KYC (Know your customer) norms for opening a ‘No frill’ account. This will help the low income individual to open a ‘No Frill’ account without identity proof and address proof. In such cases banks can take the individual’s introduction from an existing customer whose full KYC norm procedure has been completed. And...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document