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India contributing to global growth in financial inclusion: World Bank

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New Delhi: The Global Findex Report, 2017 released by the World Bank on Friday gives India more than one reason to cheer, as it notes the rapid increase in financial inclusion that has taken place in the country.

The report lists how the number of account holders in the country has risen from 35 per cent of the adults in 2011 and 53 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2017.

This, as per the report, is comparable to 80 per cent of adults in China who have an account.

 

It also attributes the progress being driven by the Jan Dhan Yojana policy which has used biometric ID to expand access to financial services.

Further, it may be pertinent to note that the report sources its data largely from surveys that were conducted in the summer of 2017.

According to the government data sourced from the banks, the total number of Jan Dhan account holders has risen from 28.17 crore in March 2017 to 31.44 crore in March 2018.

The total number of current and savings accounts in banks has risen from 122.3 crore in March 2015 to 157.1 crore in March 2017.

The report states that about 51.4 crore accounts have been opened globally from 2014 to 2017.

It is heartening to see that of these 51.4 crore accounts, the number of Jan Dhan Accounts opened in India during the same period is about 28.17 crore, constituting almost 55 per cent of the accounts opened globally during this period.

Further, the report takes cognizance of the “dramatically increased account ownership” in India and reduced gender gap in ownership by six percentage points vis-a-vis 2014 with 83 per cent of the men and 77 per cent women now having an account.

Moreover, among MUDRA loan beneficiaries, women account for almost 75 per cent.

This reveals how, building on this basic foundation of providing a bank account to all its people, India has huge potential to further improve theaccount usage.

In what can be seen as an answer to apprehensions raised earlier by some critics on usage of digital payments in India, the report states that 36 percent of account owners in India are already using their accounts to make or receive digital payments.

It has also identified the large existing potential in India which can be utilised to improve on this count and give people more opportunities to use their accounts for digital transactions and mobile payments.

It recognises the availability of bank accounts, debit cards and mobile connections in India, which would be critical in improving the account usage in future.

In other words it may be said that the report reaffirms the potential of the “Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile (JAM) Trinity” in expanding financial inclusion.
Other potential target groups identified in the report to increase digital payments are adults in India who have an account and a mobile phone.

Among these are about 50 million adults receiving payments for sale of agricultural goods, about 70 million adults working in the private sector and receiving wage payments in cash and about 170 million adults who pay their utility bills in cash.

This heartening review of India’s financial inclusion and digital payment initiatives by the Global Findex Report, 2017 and the identification of potential waiting to be unlockedgives further impetus to the Government’s ongoing efforts for financial inclusion.


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India one of world’s fastest growing large economies:IMF

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Washington: India has been one of the fastest growing large economies in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, asserting that the country has carried out several key reforms in the last five years, but more needs to be done.
Responding to a question on India’s economic development in the last five years at a fortnightly news conference here, IMF communications director Gerry Rice Thursday said, “India has of course been one of the world’s fastest growing large economies of late, with growth averaging about seven per cent over the past five years.”
“Important reforms have been implemented and we feel more reforms are needed to sustain this high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity, which India has,” he said.
Details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook (WEO) survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month, he said.
This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF’s chief economist.
“The WEO will go into more details. But amongst the policy priorities, we would include accelerate the cleanup of banks and corporate balance sheets, continue fiscal consolidation, both at centre and state levels, and broadly maintain the reform momentum in terms of structural reforms in factor markets, labour, land reforms and further enhancing the business climate to achieve faster and more inclusive growth,” Rice said.

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Fitch cuts India GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 6.8 pc

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New Delhi: Fitch Ratings on Friday cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8 per cent from its previous estimate of 7 per cent, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy.
“While we have cut our growth forecasts for the next fiscal year (FY20, ending in March 2020) on weaker-than-expected momentum, we still see Indian GDP growth to hold up reasonably well, at 6.8 per cent, followed by 7.1 per cent in FY21,” Fitch said in its Global Economic Outlook. Fitch Ratings cut India’s FY19 GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent from 7.8 per cent on December 6.
The rating agency has also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7 per cent from 7.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent, respectively. According to Fitch, the RBI has adopted a more dovish monetary policy stance and cut interest rates by 0.25 percentage at its February 2019 meeting, a move supported by steadily decelerating headline inflation.
“We have changed our rate outlook and we now expect another 25 bp cut in 2019, amid protracted below target inflation and easier global monetary conditions than previously envisaged,” it said. “On the fiscal side, the budget for FY20 plans to increase cash transfers for farmers,” it added. Fitch said, it’s benign oil price outlook and expectations of accelerating food prices in the coming months should support rural households’ income and consumption.

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India’s total wireless subscribers grew to 1.18 bn in January 2019: TRAI

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New Delhi: India’s total wireless subscribers grew by 0.51 percent to 1,181.97 million (1.18 bn) in January 2019, as per a report by telecom regularor TRAI.
Total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & LTE) increased from 1,176.00 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,181.97 million at the end of January 2019, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.51 percent, the TRAI report said.
As on January 31, 2019, the private access service providers held 89.95 percent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.05%, the regulator said in its report.
The Wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 647.52 million at the end of December 2018 to 654.20 million at the end of January 2019, however wireless subscriptions in rural areas declined from 528.48 million to 527.77 million during the month.
The monthly growth rates of urban wireless subscription was1.03 percent and rural wireless subscription was 0.13%, the report said
The Wireless Tele-density in India increased from 89.78 at the end of December 2018 to 90.15 at the end of January 2019.
The Urban Wireless Tele-density increased from 155.48 at the end of December 2018 to 156.85 at the end of January 2019, however Rural Wireless Tele-density declined from 59.15 to 59.04 during the same period.
The share of urban and rural wireless subscribers in total number of wireless subscribers was 55.35 percent and 44.65 percent respectively at the end of January 2019.

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