Financial Inclusion and Social Protection: A Case for India Post

Priyadarshee, Anurag, Hossain, Farhad and Arun, Thankom Gopinath (2010) Financial Inclusion and Social Protection: A Case for India Post. Competition & Change, 14 (3). pp. 324-342. ISSN 10245294

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Analysis of empirical evidence from three Indian states suggests that financial inclusion strategies may be inefficient if designed without accounting for the government social protection programmes. Social protection programmes generate additional needs for financial services among the poor, meeting which can also deepen the impact of such programmes. Being a government department and the largest financial service-providing network, India Post may be most suitably located to implement such synergistic strategies. An examination of the official data on India Post indicates that the approach of diversifying its financial products to target higher-end clients in largely urban areas may not be appropriate due to its competitive disadvantage. We argue that delivery of financial services through post offices, built around social protection, may contribute to financial inclusion in rural areas while improving revenues of India Post.

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