Financial Inclusion towards Sustainable Development: An Assessment of Current Status
Sustainable Development goals have been envisaged as the most profound tool to eliminate poverty in a wholistic manner including the social, economic and environmental aspects. As compared to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SGDs are more comprehensive not solely targeting towards ending poverty but to be applied universally (Gaffney, 2014). SDGs provide bunch of global goals to be pursued by different governments in the overall interest of humanity (Rupak Das, 2019). Sustainable development rests upon the concept of inclusiveness which emphasises that fruits of economic development must percolate to the bottom most parts of society. Inclusive growth was recognised as a rational strategy for economic development when it was realized that benefits of economic growth are not shared equitably (Das, 2012). Studies have proved the relevance of affordable financial services for achieving inclusive growth. To achieve this financial inclusion has been adopted which implies providing affordable and accessible financial services to every section of society. To enhance the purview of financial services with a view to cover financially excluded, number of policy reforms and initiatives have been formulated since the adoption of SDGs in 2015 and even before that. One such revolutionary reform has been digital financial inclusion. The digital financial inclusion has proved itself remarkable by cutting down transaction and operational cost on “large frequency low volume” transactions of financially excluded. The current study tries to explore the status of financial inclusion in India. The first section of the paper will present a systematic review of literature on sustainable development and financial inclusion. The second section will explore the status of financial inclusion in the country both in terms of digital finance and physical infrastructure. The third section of the paper will present suggestions for futuristic framework to make achieve sustainable development through robust financial inclusion policies.