Jayshree Vyas, Managing Director, SEWA Bank on five issues that need to be addressed by the new Narendra Modi government in the microfinance sector and for financial inclusion, and the possible solutions:
1. Improve availability of resources from banks for medium and small microfinance organisations: This should to be addressed and some kind of guidelines should be given to banks in this regard. The focus should be to create an atmosphere of trust for medium and small microfinance organisations.
2. Thrust to small banks for women and to women cooperative banks: Small banks, including cooperative banks, especially those run by women and for women should be encouraged. This will help a large number of poor women borrowers in the country.
3. Pass the Microfinance Bill: The long-pending Microfinance Bill needs to be passed by parliament as it will not only give recognition to microfinance institutions but will also allow them to collect deposits, which could be used for better lending to the poor.
4. Need better coordination among regulators on matters relating to micro-pension, micro-investments, micro-savings and addressing other lifecycle needs of the poor. There are several authorities like the Reserve Bank of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority that currently look after these issues.
5. Create a separate National Institute for Financial Education: An entity like this needs to be set up targeted at a cross-section of people from adults, women, and poor people, with customised courses designed to ensure financial literacy and impart financial education to people from different sections of the society.
As told to E. Kumar Sharma