Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav
The IEPF Research Chair Unit, NCAER, hosted this webinar as part of the Government of India’s initiative, the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”. The webinar focussed on ways to strengthen financial inclusion using investor awareness and education. Financial inclusion is a key enabler of the developmental goals envisaged under SDG 2030, its agenda for implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The session was held virtually.
The United Nations adopted SDG 2030 in September 2015 with the idea of “leaving no one behind”. The Agenda was envisaged as a policy initiative to address the major global challenges, namely, poverty, inequality, climate change, and need for peace and justice. The universal agenda is a comprehensive plan listing 17 SDGs and 169 targets that are integrated with the primary objective of economic, social, and environmental development across the globe.
Financial inclusion is one of the prominent subjects under the SDGs, for enhancing economic growth, and thereby accelerating the achievement of other SDGs such as eradicating poverty, ending hunger, promoting health, achieving gender equality or reducing inequality overall. Low levels of financial inclusion are normally associated with poor financial literacy and financial awareness.
The IEPF Unit, NCAER, conducted a series of webinars between December 2020 and June 2021, focusing on the results envisioned in the National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE) 2020-25. The webinar series was titled “Investing in Investor Education in India: Priorities for Action”. According to the National Financial Literacy and Inclusion Survey 2019, the figures for financial inclusion and the overall level of financial literacy in India are 15 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively. India’s 2014 Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana programme led to the creation of robust digital financial services, increasing the proportion of bank accounts for those above the age of 15 to nearly 80 per cent in 2017, as compared to a corresponding figure of just about 35 per cent in 2011. Digitisation has enabled banking to reach many more during the pandemic. It is thus important to use this growth in digital financial inclusion to ignite faster progress towards fulfilment of the SDGs, and create a long-lasting social and economic impact.
This webinar featured insights from experts. Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, gave the keynote address, highlighting the government’s perspective on financial inclusion. Shri Atul Bagai, Head, UNEP (India), offered an international perspective on the same while Smt Bindu Ananth, Chair and Managing Trustee, Dvara Holdings, and Shri Challa Setty, MD, State Bank of India, represented the views of the Indian financial sector. Shri Manoj Pandey, CEO, IEPFA, delivred the closing remarks.