ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Financial Inclusion and Digital India: A Critical Assessment

Financial inclusion is one of the cornerstones of a developing economy. Launched in 2015, Digital India has been regarded as a significant intervention to bring the unbanked population, who had been kept out of the mainstream economy, into the formal financial net. While there has been an improvement in digital transactions across the country, issues still remain of last-mile connectivity of banks and other financial institutions, dormant accounts, among others.

Financial Inclusion of Female Sex Workers

The clandestine nature of sex work and the stigma surrounding it restricts access to and utilisation of financial services by female sex workers, and makes it more difficult for policymakers to design appropriate programmes for their empowerment. An examination of the factors that contribute to the utilisation of financial services focused on FSWs reveals that there is an urgent need to strengthen linkages with formal banking institutions for the financial inclusion and empowerment of FSWs.

Deciphering Financial Literacy in India

Utilising a nationally representative data set, an index of financial literacy consisting of financial knowledge, behaviour, and attitude is constructed. The findings suggest significant variation in financial literacy across states with an over 60 percentage point difference between the state with the highest financial literacy and that with the lowest. Multivariate regressions show that there exist large and statistically significant gender-, location-, employment-, education-, technology-, and debt-driven differences in financial literacy. Much of the observed regional divergence persists even after we control for cohort effects.

Involuntary Exclusion and the Formal Financial Sector

Financial inclusion is a policy priority in India, with the focus on the supply-side of the financial inclusion drive and programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana. Insufficient attention, however, has been paid to the use of banking services by people at the bottom of the pyramid in order to understand what constrains them from using the formal financial services on offer. This study looks at the causes of involuntary exclusion from formal financial services in the slums of Delhi.
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