Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) by RBI- Key Points Explained

Introduction

Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) was formed by merging FIF and Financial Inclusion Technology Fund (FITF) and established by RBI 

Background

  • FIF and FITF were established in the year 2007 – 2008 over a period of five years
  • Initial corpus was 500 crore
  • Contribution of GOI, RBI and NABARD was in the ration 40:40:20
  • RBI framed guidelines for both these funds
  • RBI merged both funds into a single entity named FIF and came into effect in 2016

Nodal Agencies

  • RBI established FIF with a corpus of 2000 crore
  • NABARD maintains the funds of FIF
  • GOI administers the FIF

Need for FIF

  • To create awareness among people about financial inclusion
  • To set up financial literary centres at every block level
  • To cater to the services of Jan Dhan Yojana account holders
  • To set up standard kiosks to create financial literacy in gram panchayats
  • The Kiosks will be highly interactive to educate the masses
  • NABARD support to establish skill development centres (SETI)
  • SETI aimed at imparting skills necessary for generating income 
  • To provide linkages in a forward manner and establish marketing activities
  • To improve network connectivity by sharing government projects pertaining infrastructure and telecommunication development

Objectives of FIF

  • To enhance financial inclusion on a large scale 
  • To support promotional and development activities 
  • Increased technological absorption capacity 
  • To provide ICT solutions
  • To increase stakeholder capacity building
  • FIF funding is done through ICT – BC model (Information and Communication Technology – Business Correspondent Model)
  • To support banks investment in purview of business expansion in future
  • To address the various issues pertaining to financial inclusion including training, skill development, creating awareness and lack of infrastructure and ICT etc

Eligible Institutions to get FIF

  • Self Help Groups (SHG)
  • NGO
  • Cooperatives
  • Farmer clubs
  • Panchayats
  • Village knowledge centres
  • Agricultural societies
  • IT enabled rural entities
  • Rural multipurpose Kiosks etc

Other Guidelines

  • Contribution to FIF in excess of 0.5 percent from STCRC and RIDF deposits
  • NABARD to maintain all the fund sources and FIF
  • FITF funds transferred to FIF
  • RBI decides operation of FIF for a fixed period of years
  • Union government in consultation with other stakeholders decides important amendments on FIF
  • FIF will be included as a part of National E-Governance plan

Exceptions

  • FIF not to be used for normal banking transactions
  • FIF not to be used for normal business transactions

Conclusion

  • FIF seems to a positive step forward to enhance financial inclusion 
  • This is yet another measure of GOI to move towards a digital lifestyle and a cashless economy
  • Financial inclusion and its benefits will be known to the common people through training programs conducted through FIF
  • This will help majority of the Indians to come into the formal banking sector
  • Subsidies will reach the beneficiaries directly in the bank accounts
  • FIF is a positive step of RBI, GOI and NABARD to educate the rural masses and bring them under financial inclusion
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