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

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Financial Literacy in Rural Banking

Financial literacy in the present Indian policy context is seen as an instrument to raise demand for banking services. The location of the problem as one of deficient demand is untenable. The conception of financial literacy, as reflected in the Reserve Bank of India's Financial Literacy Guide, is packed with stereotypes of the poor as ignorant and in need of moral lessons on savings, consumption and credit. Financial literacy has to be positioned within a broader conceptual view of the financial system, so as to become a tool to raise critical consciousness and equip people to respond to the challenges posed by the financial sector. Further, financial literacy material must evolve from below, such that lives of the common people are organically a part of it. This paper also hints that the campaign mode for financial literacy might allow for greater public engagement and action. The effects of financial literacy, however, will not accrue if it is not accompanied by adequate outreach of banking services through credible public institutions.

Inflation: Sources, Challenges and Policy Options

Despite the range of monetarist, micro-behavioural and cost-push explanations for the recent episode of inflation that were presented at a seminar in New Delhi last November, there was general consensus that monetary tightening had failed to have its desired impact. Further, it was unclear whether India could afford the concomitant growth slowdown. Instead, a shift in policy focus to agricultural production and the distribution and pricing of strategic food and fuel commodities was seen as a more promising option.

Teaching Economics in Schools

The curricular changes based on the National Curriculum Framework (2005) have enfolded Economics education at the school level. This article reviews in detail the imperative for and the main elements of the change, and argues that the issues involved merit the attention of professional economists.

Japanese Economic Recovery and the Macroeconomic Policy Mix

This paper reviews the macroeconomic policy mix in Japan over the past 15 years as it grappled with slow economic growth and deflation in the economy. It argues that the repeated recessions and the enormous difficulties in economic recovery are not unrelated to the macroeconomic policies adopted by Japan. Countercyclical economic policies have largely been a let-down. Given the near liquidity trap situation in the economy and the doctrinaire methods of Japanese monetary authorities, not much could be expected from monetary policy. Expansionary fiscal policy could have provided the necessary demand push if only the fiscal stimulus had been large enough and the nature of public expenditure such as to induce a significantly high multiplier effect in the economy. This obviously was not the case. In the past few years, fiscal policy has been clearly contractionary despite the continuing demand deficit in the economy.
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