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“Financial Inclusion is the delivery of banking and financial services to the sections of population which have been hitherto excluded from such services in a fair, transparent and equitable manner at affordable cost. Financial services permit individuals and households to manage risk and uncertainties”

The spread of banking and financial services has been impressive but uneven in the country. Despite of impressive growth vast section of society remain financially excluded and continue to remain away from the formal system and thereby access to affordable financial services.

Some of the challenges which hinders in reaching of financial services to this vast section include lack of adequate infrastructure, literacy level, reaching to target customers and terrain of that area. Technology holds the key to process of financial inclusion making the services available in remote and far flung areas. It enhances access to financial services in a cost effective manner on time with increasing volume which leads to more affordability.

The use of IT is inevitable to improve the usage of existing branch and extension of branches in remote areas. It can reduce cost and time in processing of applications; maintain records and reconciliation of accounts. In rural areas customers cannot be expected to come to branches and hence banks have to reach out the customers by various means such as mobile banking, rural ATM .In urban and even in rural areas where mobile phones have penetrated, banks could use mobile technology for facilitating banking transactions. Mobile phones can be used to transfer funds real time from and to bank accounts and could make remittances and payments at very low cost.

Our focus should be to simplify the technology which can operate on any platform. The technology solution to the business needs should be user-friendly without much third-party or IT vendor intervention or support requirement for operating the same. In this context, the banks need to redesign their business strategies to incorporate specific plans to promote financial inclusion of low income group treating it both a business opportunity as well as a social responsibility. We can achieve our goal of inclusive growth if all the available resources including technology and expertise available with the banks, the support of the government, the optimum utilization of the Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), NGOs and Self Help Groups are geared towards including more and more people under the banking net.

Rajat Chaturvedi (PGDM-IB)

Lavya Shrivastava(PGDM)