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StatsGuru: 8-July-2013

Taking stock of the state of financial inclusion in India

Business Standard  |  New Delhi 

With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) moving forward on the process of granting new bank licences, with the stated aim of increasing financial inclusion in India, rating agency CRISIL has come out with a timely report on the progress of financial inclusion in India. The report uses data from RBI. Table 1 shows the state of various regions in terms of three measures of financial inclusion, as well as how those changed in the two years from 2009 to 2011.

The three measures are deposit penetration (DP), branch penetration (BP) and credit penetration (CP). As can be seen, the east and the northeast fare very poorly. The north does slightly better, and the west better still. The standout performer is the south. The biggest difference between the south and the rest comes from credit penetration. CRISIL points out that while credit penetration is a constraint on financial inclusion in the rest of the country - with percentages lower than the other measures - it is the opposite in the south, where it actually drives greater inclusion. A district-wise analysis, seen in Table 2, underlines that credit penetration is the key problem.

The 50 worst-performing districts actually saw a decline in credit availability. As Table 3 shows, the north itself has very variable results. Branch and deposit penetration are pretty good in the northwest, as in Punjab and Haryana; but there, too, credit penetration isn't very good. And in the central-eastern stretch from Madhya Pradesh to the Seven Sisters, it is abysmal. Clearly, the lessons from the south's ability to deliver credit, a prerequisite for growth, need to be applied across the rest of the country.

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First Published: Mon, July 08 2013. 00:32 IST