Bihar’s low financial inclusion should not come as a surprise; globally there are over 2 billion persons and millions of micro, small and medium enterprises not covered by financial inclusion, said Harsha Vardhana Singh, deputy director general, World Trade Organisation.
Singh said such a trend is disturbing. “The situation is especially worrisome after the recent sharp economic and financial decline, increasing the number of vulnerable population, thus showing a greater need for safety nets and access to finance,” he said.
Stressing the need for more cooperation on this front, the deputy director general said, “The G20 leaders have established inter alia, the global partnership for financial inclusion, whose efforts include helping countries put into practice the principles for innovative financial inclusion, strengthening data for measuring financial inclusion, and developing methodologies for countries wishing to set targets.”
Emphasising that India is one of the few active countries encouraging financial inclusion schemes, Singh said, “Financial inclusion can cover a range of relevant products and supplementary activities, and diverse skills and resources needed to make progress. The problems are large and diverse, they need multiple options and solutions and a framework of regulatory principles to give stability and confidence.”
He also added that financial inclusion can only be possible with active cooperation among member nations. “Moreover, nations have realised that they need to work together, multilaterally as in the WTO, to make effective progress. Therefore, today efforts to improve financial inclusion are being made not only at the individual country level but also at regional or global level.”