Current State of Financial Literacy in India - GAFA
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Current State of Financial Literacy in India

30 March 2018

Financial literacy is the education and understanding of various financial areas.his topic focuses on the ability to manage personal finance matters in an efficient manner, and it includes the knowledge of making appropriate decisions about personal finance such as investing, insurance, real estate, paying for college etc. The 2012 edition of Visa Global Financial Literacy Barometer demonstrated that “India is lagging behind the global standard and it secured 23rd slot in the over-all ranking.” The level of financial literacy in India is very low (24 percent) as compared to BRICS Nations (28 percent) and European Nations (52 percent) in the year 2015. The survey by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (S&P)confirms that financial literacy in India has consistently been poor compared to the rest of the world. Financial illiteracy puts a burden on the nation in the form of higher cost of financial security and lesser prosperity. An example of this is the fact that most people resort to investing more in physical assets and short-term instruments, which conflicts with the greater need for long-term investments, both for households to meet their life stage goals and for meeting the country’s capital requirements for infrastructure. The level of financial literacy varies across globe due to variations in the socio-demographic variables like age, sex, religion, education level. The level of financial literacy among different nations in the year 2014 is shown in Figure. In India, there are also certain erroneous beliefs associated with financial literacy, the most common being the myth that one who is ‘literate’ or ‘rich’ is also ‘financially literate’. Lack of basic financial understanding leads to unproductive investment decisions. Another myth is that financial literacy is more important for adults. We can achieve the desired results from financial literacy only when we start educating our children. Like many other provocative topics, money is something that kids hear about outside homes as well, which exposes them to wrong perceptions. FINANCIAL LITERACY INITIATIVES IN INDIA In India, a large number of stakeholders including financial regulators, financial institutions, educationists and other agencies are involved in spreading financial literacy. Efforts are continuously being made so as to improve the level of financial literacy in India. Some of the initiatives undertaken are as follows: – (a) Securities Exchange Board of India The SEBI Certified Resource Persons organize workshops on topics like savings, financial planning, retirement plans, investments etc. to the target segments across India. College and school students are encouraged to visit SEBI office and learn about its working under „Visit SEBI‟ programme. Recently SEBI has launched a toll free helpline number in 14 languages for the investors wherein they can seek information on any related issue of the finance. (b) Reserve Bank of India An initiative under “Project Financial Literacy” has been undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The objective of this project is to disseminate information regarding the basic banking concepts to various target groups, including school and college students, women, rural and urban poor and senior citizens. The study material related to the financial literacy is available in English and 12 other Indian languages. It is disseminated to the target audience with the help of banks, local government agencies, schools and colleges through presentations, pamphlets, brochures, films and also through the RBI’s official website. (c) Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Awareness programs have been organized on national television and radio wherein the simple messages about the rights and duties of the policyholders are discussed in English, Hindi and 11 other Indian languages. IRDA organizes an annual seminar on policy holder protection and welfare and also partially sponsors seminars on insurance by consumer bodies. (d) Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has developed Frequently Asked Questions on the pension related issues on its official website, and has associated itself with the various non-government organizations to spread the pension awareness in India. All stakeholders including consumers must work in conjunction for financial literacy through a combination of innovative strategies.The need of the hour is to strengthen financial education initiatives in India and comprehensive research should be done on financial literacy in India. GAFA understands the importance of increasing and improving the state of affairs, especially among the youth. Sign up with www.gafaglobal.com for a power packed course in Finance designed by NSE and GAFA.

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