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The official emphasis on financial inclusion keeps re-emerging in policy discourses and among bankers, who are critical of its architecture, despite the earnestness and enthusiasm in pursuing it. In the face of initial bursts of euphoria, the movement develops fatigue for commercial reasons. The agenda regularly falls by the side –first from discussion tables and then from policy engagement. Banks face many constraints; the high cost of driving financial inclusion in remote geographies is not sustainable. The main reason for the earlier failures was that the goals were more idealistic than realistic
However, in the last few years, that agenda appears to have gained significant traction even as it is still going through the honeymoon period in the Jan-Dhan avatar. People have wholeheartedly embraced it and see great promise in it. But they are still not entirely convinced of it achieving its touted potential.
Access to suitable finances is critical in overcoming the complex everyday realities for those living in penny economies. It can allow them to move out of poverty or build resilience to absorb a financial shock without sinking deeper into debt. Financial services increase savings, remove barriers to credit, ease the burden of debt, and help people weather unexpected tragedies.
An economist by training and a social worker by practice, Moin Qazi is an author, researcher and development professional who has spent four decades in the development sector. He is a firm believer in learning from communities in their environments. This is a compilation of articles that have been published in Leading. The author has contributed articles to leading publications around the globe and authored several books. He has been associated with the development sector for almost four decades.
He began his early career as a development journalist. While still at college, he began writing on issues relating to the plight of child labourers and leading efforts against it. His work ultimately received the attention of Indian courts, leading to a series of reforms for child labourers.
He worked for over three decades at the State Bank of India and has been associated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NITI Aayog and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He has played a crucial role in empowering women and the education of girl children in rural areas, along with efforts to create affordable housing programmes for low-income individuals. He writes regularly for several newspapers and journals.
He holds PhDs in English and Economics and has authored more than a dozen books on diverse themes,
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