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

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A Viewpoint

All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey

Demand-side information on the economic profiles of households is available from the All-India Debt and Investment Survey and Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households. However, there have been no surveys of rural households during the intervening years with an emphasis on financial inclusion and financial accessibility, as perceived by them. To bridge this gap, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development launched the All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey for the reference year July 2015–June 2016.

Financial inclusion has gained considerable importance over the last two decades in India, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the central government formulating financial assistance schemes to aid vulnerable households. The “Report of the Committee on Financial Inclusion” (with C Rangarajan as its chairperson) describes financial inclusion as “the process of ensuring access to financial services and timely and adequate credit where needed by vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low income groups at an affordable cost” (GoI 2008: 35). The target group comprises the weaker strata of rural (agricultural and non-agricultural) and urban households. The report refers to the National Rural Financial Inclusion Plan (NRFIP), which aims to cover a cross-section of financially excluded households, and sets targets for commercial banks.

Financial accessibility is also a component of financial inclusion, which may be viewed from the demand side of financial services. The supply side includes banking outlets in villages and coverage of locations through business correspondents (BCs), basic savings bank deposit accounts (BSBDAs), overdrafts (ODs), and the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme.1 Details on small borrowal accounts (each with a credit limit of ₹ 2 lakh or less) are also available in the RBI Basic Statistical Returns (BSR) of Scheduled Commercial Banks in India information system. However, demand-side investigations from a household perspective are limited to the decennial All-India Debt and Investment Surveys (AIDIS) and Situation Assessment Surveys (SAS) of Agricultural Households conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). The AIDIS is oriented towards the debt and investment aspects of households (rural and urban), while the SAS focuses on the livelihood aspects of agricultural households. Both surveys were conducted over the course of the NSSO 70th Round for the reference year 2011–12 (NSSO 2014a, 2014b). Though the AIDIS and SAS collected valuable information on the financial assets and liabilities and other livelihood aspects of rural households, there have been no surveys between the decennial periods that emphasise both financial inclusion and the livelihood status of rural households.

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Updated On : 15th Feb, 2019

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