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

Articles By D Narayana

Faith-based Financial Exclusion in India

One of the key determinants of access to financial services is branch density as loan-making depends on information that necessitates local presence. This paper hypothesises that the proportion of Muslim population has an inverse relationship with branch density in India. The hypothesis is tested using data on commercial bank branches from the Reserve Bank of India and census data. The ordinary least squares estimation shows the expected negative sign for the coefficient of Muslims and the positive sign for the level of urbanisation, both being statistically significant. Commercial bank loan rates are related to the proximity to branch offices, wherein lower branch density not only affects the Muslims (who voluntarily do not participate) but also the general population with serious implications for financial deepening and welfare.

Faith-based Financial Exclusion

The United Kingdom was at the forefront of opening Islamic windows in its financial system with the objective of achieving financial inclusion of Muslims without compromising their value systems. India refused to think in that direction with its large Muslim population being excluded from financial deepening, which is a crucial pillar of poverty reduction. The consequent lower business potential of districts with a higher proportion of Muslim population has led to lower branch density and loan rates, affecting the general population as well. Jammu and Kashmir, in districts where the proportion of Muslims is higher, also reflects these trends observed in other states.

 

Budget 2021–22 on Health

The budget speech on 1 February 2021 announced an allocation of over `2.2 lakh crore to health and well-being, at 137% higher compared to BE 2020–21. The Fifteenth Finance Commission emphasised the need for strengthening the COVID-19-ravaged health sector by recommending sector-specific grants. The government did not accept the recommendation and, if we discount the health component in the local government grants, the budget allocation for the sector has increased by hardly 10% compared to the 2019–20 actuals.

Review of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana

The enrolment of the poor in the flagship health insurance scheme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in its third year of operation does not show any sign of it covering all the poor by 2012. This article estimates the proportion of the eligible below the poverty line families enrolled for the scheme and the fraction of those hospitalised who are covered.