Financial Inclusion in Assam-An Overview
*Corresponding Author: Nishi Borgohain Research Scholar, Dept. of Economics, Dibrugarh University, Assam-786004 Email, firstname.lastname@example.org
At the beginning of the new millennium, 260 million people in the country did not have incomes to access a consumption basket which defines the poverty line. Of these, 75 per cent were in the rural areas. India is home to 22 per cent of the world's poor. 22% Indian population live below poverty line whereas 32% population lives below poverty line in Assam (Economic Survey of Assam, 2013–14). Such a high incidence of poverty is a matter of concern in view of the fact that poverty alleviation has been one of the major objectives in the 21st century. Financial inclusion can serve the purpose to a greater extent. Increasing access of financial services to deprived section of society is the main motto of Financial Inclusion in India. A major section of rural population is deprived of financial access in the form of bank accounts, financial advice, financial services etc. According to census 2011, only 58.7% of households are availing banking services in the country whereas the percentage of household availing in Assam is only 44.1%. The concept of Financial Inclusion has gained a lot of importance and momentum in this regard in the last decade. To make growth inclusive for all sections of the society, initiatives have been taken to make banking and other financial services easily accessible. In this paper an attempt is made to explore the available statistics to investigate the level of financial inclusion in Assam from three different aspects-availability of financial services at village level (physical access), access of households to bank accounts and utilization of financial resources and services by households from formal system. The study is a desk study based on available up-to-date secondary sources of data. The study found that Assam and especially rural Assam has performed poorly in all three dimensions of financial inclusion-availability, accessibility and usage of financial services. As far as district-wise banking parameters are concerned, the study indicated a wide variation in all the parameters. No district has performed well in all indicators. The survey data and statistics of banks and other institutions on various dimensions of financial inclusion while expose some significant aspects of the success of financial inclusion drive, when seen individually these fail to give a wholesome picture. Hence, instead of confining to the schemes recommended by the official committees, banks may adopt some innovative schemes for making financial inclusion more meaningful as well as successful.
Poverty Line, financial inclusion, financial services, financial access.