India Must Include Rural Women to Actualize the Dream of Cashless Economy

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According to reports, Financial inclusion is the prime indicator for any country’s growth and development. In many countries, inclusive financial inclusion with affordable financial services is the topmost priority which includes India as well. Time and again, G-20 nations have highlighted the importance of financial inclusion as a facilitator to achieve gender equality and promote sustainable development activities. The global progress of a nation is dependent on women’s empowerment, as Kofi Anan, former general secretary of United Nations once said- “There is no tool for development more effective than women empowerment.” He also emphasized the importance of economic gender equality by means of financial inclusivity.

It’s been found that people living in extreme poverty often find it difficult to conduct digital transactions. They are largely not educated about digital facilities which can ease their lives. Additionally, since women, living in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, play an important role in the financial inclusion model, it becomes the foremost priority to educate them, the report said.

In developed countries, the inclusive financial model has emerged as a way to achieve formative objectives. Hence, implementing such pattern in developing countries like India can be helpful for the growth of the rural sector. A dynamic financial literacy programme that gives rural women knowledge about cash management, savings, banking, insurance, investment tools, and other financial services can also help close the gender gap in rural India. Facilitating women empowerment through affordable financial services in tier 1 and tier 2 cities are a systematic approach to achieve sustainable growth.

It’s been found that most rural women have very little access to financial information and, coupled with low literacy, are unable to take advantage of banking services, especially if they are online or digital. The fact the traditional banking is often male-dominated leads to women feeling intimidated. In this scenario, the importance of financial and digital education for rural women becomes obvious, the report said.

To resolve the existing issues, India government is consistently making efforts to make the country a cashless economy where men and women can participate equally. However, there are still cases where rural women are less likely to visit bank branches because they feel uncomfortable in a male-dominated environment, rural men may not feel the same way. As a result, the financial literacy programs need to include the importance of digital literacy so women can conduct their basic banking transactions remotely, on their mobile phones, the report said.

Certain FinTech companies and organisations are working tirelessly to promote financial literacy in remote areas of India for women and have implemented financial and digital literacy programmes. One such FinTech company is Payworld has empowered more than 10000 women from various regions in the retailing business. (Source: Times of India)