Shaktikanta Das: Financial inclusion – past, present and future

Inaugural address by Mr Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, at the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit, 15 July 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
15 July 2021

1. I wish to thank the organisers of the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit for inviting me to address this august gathering. Financial inclusion is a key driver of sustained and balanced economic growth which helps reduce income inequality and poverty. While we have made tremendous strides in this area over the years, the pandemic has created new challenges and complexities. The financial system will have a crucial role to fulfil the aspirations and needs of our economy on the mend. It is therefore befitting that a summit to deliberate on financial inclusion is being organised at this juncture and I commend the organisers for the same.

2. The overarching principle behind India's journey towards financial inclusion is echoed in the Gandhian philosophy: "Sarvodaya through Antyodaya – Welfare of all through the upliftment of the weakest". The focus is on the basic objectives of 'inclusiveness' and 'equity', which go beyond poverty alleviation. It also encompasses equality of opportunity for all sections of society including the poor, women, farmers, small enterprises, and others. The policy makers in India – Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India – acknowledged the importance of financial inclusion early and have taken a number of measures to ensure that the benefits of economic growth percolate down to the poor and excluded sections of the society.