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Business Correspondents as Catalysts of Financial Inclusion - Empirical Evidences from North Bengal

International Journal of Banking, Risk and Insurance

Volume 4 Issue 1

Published: 2016
Author(s) Name: Samirendra Nath Dhar, Soumitra Sarkar | Author(s) Affiliation:
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Abstract

In recent years the approach for financial inclusion in India has been to make provisions for every person to have access to a bank account and avail essential financial services. While implementing the recent programmes, it was realized that it was not possible to reach the milieu with brick and mortar bank branches in every nook and corner of the country, rather it is better that the bank makes efforts to reach the doorsteps of the people through business correspondents and business facilitators. The aim of the Business Correspondent (BC) model is to develop and sustain the association between unbanked populace and the formal financial system. However, the BC model introduced in India by RBI in 2006 has many problems, as found out by some studies. The present study is an empirical investigation into the systems and problems of Business Correspondent field workers in North Bengal. The study was taken up in the three districts of North Bengal which has a very low level of financial inclusion. Through extensive field research the authors try to find out what functions BCs actually perform in the field and importance of the functions as perceived by them and assess the problems inherent in the systems and the difficulties encountered by the field level workers through Importance Performance Analysis. The authors also try to gauge the financial benefits those accrue to the field level BCs from their operations and assess the viability of the financial inclusion strategies in this respect. The authors have used 32 operational indicators in attempt to analyze the problems in an Importance- Performance Analytical format and identified the areas which need to be concentrated on.

Keywords: Business Correspondence, Financial Inclusion

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