Role of RBI
The role of the Reserve Bank in the area of fi nancial inclusion involves developing policies towards ensuring the availability of banking services at affordable costs for those vulnerable sections of society who have hitherto been left outside the scope of formal fi nancial services due to factors such as illiteracy, lack of banking infrastructure, diffi culty in physical access to such services in far fl ung areas and perceived lack of creditworthiness. Recognising that fi nancial illiteracy is a major impediment to the diffusion of fi nancial inclusion, the Reserve Bank focused on the dissemination of simple messages introducing people to the benefi ts of active savings, prudent borrowing practices, fi nancial planning as well as unravelling the world of digital transactions for them. Consumer protection also forms an important aspect of these messages, which are also issued in vernacular language. During 201617, the Reserve Bank aimed to provide a fi llip to fi nancial literacy through a digital focus in literacy camps, experimenting with ground level camps, capacity building of fi nancial literacy counsellors and observation of a fi nancial literacy week. In order to propel the economy onto a medium-term sustainable inclusion path, greater emphasis was placed on strengthening the business correspondent (BC) model through the creation 78 of a BC registry and introduction of a framework for BC certifi cation. In this context, the Financial Inclusion and Development Department of the Reserve Bank formulates policies for promoting fi nancial inclusion.
CASHLESS ECONOMY AND TRANSACTIONS
India uses too much cash for transactions. The ratio of cash to gross domestic product is one of the highest in the world—12.42% in 2014, compared with 9.47% in China or 4% in Brazil. Less than 5% of all payments happen electronically. Some studies show that cash dominates even in malls, which are visited by people who are likely to have credit cards, so it is no surprise that cash dominates in other markets as well. A cashless economy is one in the flow of cash within an economy is non-existent and all transactions have to be through electronic channels such as direct debit, credit and debit cards, electronic clearing, payment systems such as Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Electronic Funds Transfer and Real Time Gross Settlement in India. Benefits of Cashless economy • Reduced instances of tax avoidance because it is financial institutions based economy where transaction trails are left. • Curb generation of black money. • IT will reduce real estate prices because of curbs on black money. • It will place universal availability of banking services to all as no physical infrastructure is needed other than digital. • There will be greater efficiency in welfare programmes as money is wired directly into the accounts of recipients. • Reduced cost of printing notes, instances of their soiled or becoming unusable, counterfeit currency. • Reduced costs of operating ATMs. • Speed and satisfaction of operations for customers as no delays and queues, no interactions with bank staff required. • A Moody’s report pegged the impact of electronic transactions to 0.8% increase in GDP for emerging markets and 0.3% increase for developed markets because increased velocity of money.