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Grameen Foundation India and BCFI Release Groundbreaking Report on Next-Generation BC Model

WFY Bureau, New Delhi:

Grameen Foundation India and the Business Correspondent Federation of India have jointly released a groundbreaking report titled “Reimagining the Next-generation BC Model” in New Delhi, India. The report is based on a two-day CXO Roundtable Conference held in November 2022, where industry leaders discussed the future of the Business Correspondents (BCs) in India and how to develop a more inclusive, viable, and responsible model.

The roundtable provided a dynamic platform for industry experts to come together and co-create a strategy to build the next-generation BC model, and the recommendations include ideas on regulatory reforms, improved visibility of BCs, marketing strategies, increased gender sensitivity, and making BCs one-stop points for financial services.

“The BC industry has played a significant role in driving financial inclusion to the last mile, be it Jan Dhan Yojana, Benefit Schemes/Payments, or Covid-19 cash relief. There is, however, a dire need to significantly expand the scope of digital financial services and address key challenges to make the industry self-reliant, more efficient, effective, and impactful,” says Sunil Kulkarni, CEO, BCFI.

The report also recommends capacity building of all stakeholders, making the BC industry more investor-friendly, creating an open common knowledge-sharing platform, transitioning from demand fulfillment to demand generation, and providing training content in vernacular languages.

Piyush Singh, Director, Innovations in Digital Finance, Grameen Foundation India underscored the importance of collective action and partnership in achieving financial inclusion goals and creating a more equitable and sustainable financial system for all. “Financial inclusion is critical for building a more just and equitable society. Achieving this goal involves not only expanding access to financial services but also addressing the underlying structural issues that perpetuate financial exclusion. It requires a fundamental shift in the way the financial systems operate. This report is a call to action for the BC industry to collaborate and create a more inclusive, responsible, and viable model that benefits the BC Agents and the communities,” Singh said.

Mahesh Jain, Chairperson, BCFI, and Co-Founder, Integra Micro Systems Pvt Ltd., said, “The BC industry has come a long way in advancing financial inclusion in India, but there is still much work to be done to create a more efficient and impactful model. This report offers a roadmap for the next-generation BC model that is more inclusive, responsible, and viable.”

The report represents a passionate commitment to bridging the financial inclusion gap and empowering the unbanked population of India with access to vital financial services via BCs. Its release is a milestone in the journey towards realizing their shared vision and a brighter future for countless individuals and communities.

The report by Grameen Foundation India and Business Correspondent Federation of India also sheds light on the critical role played by Business Correspondents (BCs) in India in facilitating the remittance of funds back to the homes and families of domestic migrant laborers.

Every month, more than 30,000 crore is remitted through the BC network, and a large part of this amount is sent by domestic migrant workers to support their families. This makes the BC network an essential enabler of financial inclusion for this segment of society, which has long been excluded from the formal financial system.

The report emphasizes that it is crucial to recognize the significance of this flow of funds and to leverage the BC network to provide a more comprehensive suite of financial services to this vulnerable population. The BCs can act as a crucial link between the migrant workers and the formal banking system, helping to bridge the gap between demand and supply for financial services.

The report’s recommendations on increased gender sensitivity and capacity building of all stakeholders will also help to empower BC-Sakhis, who are often women, to serve their communities better and increase their incomes.

Overall, the report’s release is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive, efficient, and impactful BC model, one that can drive financial inclusion to the last mile and build a more equitable and sustainable financial system for all.

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