The Reserve Bank of India on August 17, 2021 introduced its first financial inclusion index to measure and improve the extent of financial inclusion in the country.

RBI’s financial inclusion index (FI-Index) is published annually in July. It is a comprehensive index that incorporates details of banking, insurance, investments, postal as well as the pension sector. It is created in consultation with the government and sectoral regulators.

The annual Financial Inclusion (FI) Index’s first reading for the period ending March 2021 has come in at 53.9 as against 43.4 for the period ending March 2017.

Financial Inclusion Index: Key Highlights 

The Financial Inclusion Index has captured information about different aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 to 100.

•While zero represents financial exclusion, 100 indicates full financial inclusion.

•The Financial Inclusion Index has been framed based on three broad parameters—

1. Usage (45 percent)
2. Access (35 percent)
3. Quality (20 percent)

•The parameters were computed based on 97 indicators.

•The Financial Inclusion Index will be responsive to ease of access, availability and usage of services, and quality of services.

Significance

According to RBI, a unique feature of the index is the quality parameter that captures the quality aspect of financial inclusion as reflected by financial literacy, consumer protection and inequalities and deficiencies in services.

The Index has been constructed without any ‘base year’, as it reflects the cumulative efforts of all stakeholders over the years towards financial inclusion.

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