Over the last decade, there has been expansion, competition anddiversification of ownership of banks leading to both enhanced efficiency andsystemic resilience. However, there are legitimate concerns in regard to thebanking practices that tend to exclude rather than attract vast sections of population, in particular, pensioners, self-employed and those employed inunorganized sector. This culminated into the Reserve Bank emphasizing in its Annual Policy Statement for 2005-06, that bankers should empower thedepositors by providing wider access and better quality of banking services.With the objective of ensuring greater inclusive growth, Reserve Bank hasundertaken a number of initiatives to continuously widen the scope andextent of financial Inclusion.In order to explore the potential for integrating financial education andliteracy into the Reserve Bank’s overall endeavour for financial inclusion, theBank launched the ‘Reserve Bank of India Young Scholars Scheme’ forstudents between 18 and 23 years of age and studying in undergraduateclasses at various institutions across the country. In this context, we considerourselves fortunate enough to be allotted the project ‘FinancialInclusion/Financial Literacy’ of which the Young Scholar Scheme is aninseparable part.This report is not just the work done by two of us, it is also the result of ourinteractions with the staff at RBI, Ranchi office, which moulded and shapedover views on financial inclusion, which can be seen, reflected in the report itself. The continued guidance from Shri R.N. Mishra, GM & O-In-C and mentorShri Chandan Kumar, AGM helped us focus on financial inclusion and not get distracted away from our core topic. Our visit to the SHG
meeting at Ramgarhwith Smt Bimla Bhagat, Manager and Shri S.T. Punnoose, AGM was our first foray outside Ranchi, which helped us understand the working of SHGs andFarmer Clubs. The number of surveys and visits we undertook would not havebeen possible without them being facilitated beforehand by our mentor, whotook every pain so as to smoothen our project work, which sometimes used toget off track too. We are also thankful to Shri S. Das who guided us in the earlydays of our project and gave a macro view on the topic of financial inclusion.