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Nabard begins survey to study effects of financial inclusion
New Delhi | February 2017
New Delhi: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has started a survey of primarily 40,000 households to study the impact of financial inclusion on livelihoods. The survey, which will be conducted every three years, will study the same households every time to check for indications of trading up.
 
Nabard has asked Lucknow-based Academy of Management, which conducts social and development research, to conduct the survey. The results of the first survey are expected to be released later this year.
“The whole idea is to have more timely data on the impact of the steps being taken to promote financial inclusion. The survey is being undertaken post Jan Dhan (opening of no-frills bank accounts in a mission mode) and post demonetisation. Since the same set of households will be covered every three years, the survey will more accurately capture the progress on the financial inclusion front,” said Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, chairman, Nabard.
“We expect to cover around 2 lakh respondents with the survey,” he said.
 
At present, the census gives data on the spread of banking services across the country. But this data is available only once every 10 years, posing a handicap for policy makers who are unable to assess the impact of their decisions on a more regular basis.
 
The survey will track savings patterns, card usage, mobile payments and changes in patterns of usage between the young and the old.
 
It will gather household profile, including the number of people, educational background and household assets, and try to establish consumption, expenditure and savings patterns. The respondents will be asked about their saving habits and access to financial services like bank accounts, loans, kisan credit cards, insurance and pension coverage. It will also check if these respondents withdraw money from ATMs and bank accounts, or conduct Internet or mobile banking on a regular basis. It will also quiz them about their awareness of the various schemes launched by the government to improve the access of financial services for rural households.
 
Rather than financial literacy, focus will be to gauge the impact on livelihoods from the government’s initiatives on the financial inclusion and social security front, Bhanwala said.
“The survey will help policy makers undertake mid-course correction,” said Y.P. Issar, former general manager with Punjab National Bank.
 
“At present, the census data comes with a lag and it only tracks the number of people who have bank accounts. We also have data released by the Central Statistics Office on consumption pattern of households. But this kind of survey will deduce if financial inclusion has helped create the credit history of an individual as well as how have the business correspondents performed,” he said.