Poor people’s access to financial services on the rise in India
A financial survey of four poor states of India—Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh—has revealed that access to formal banking outlets is not as difficult as had been in the past and an increasing number of people are being financially included.
FinMark Trust of South Africa conducted this survey, the first of its kind, titled ‘FinScope Consumer Survey India’. It is part of the Poorest State Inclusive Growth or PSIG programme, implemented by the Small Industries Development Bank of India with the support of the UK’s department for international development. It will be made public on 8 November.
The survey has covered 16,000 households in these four states and drawn a larger picture by extrapolating the findings. One adult from each household was interviewed in the second half of 2015, beginning in July. The data used in this survey is one-year old, but that does not dent its basic findings as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, a national mission on financial inclusion, was firmly in place by that time.
The average time taken to access formal financial services such as a bank branch, an ATM or a post office branch is not more than half an hour in these four states. The level of connectivity is also high, reflected by the number of adults using mobile phones.