Despite the rapid strides made in field of Financial Inclusion, the extension of same for disabled has been neglected? Critically analyze.
India has nearly 2.13% of disabled population suffering from various kinds of disabilities like hearing, visual, locomotive, etc. But it is the disability inflicted by the society and various governmental institutions, which affect them most. Despite the efforts of RBI to mainstream them in financial system, disabled face exclusion from the financial inclusion drive.
Disabled persons face various kinds of hurdles in accessing financial services like opening of bank account, operating the account and latest technological advancements like e-transactions using captcha have completely by-passed them.
Various such issues are:
Many disabled people, especially in rural India, find it difficult to sign bank documents, and are denied ATM cards, cheque books and Internet banking.
The majority of commercial banks have archaic rules in their statute books which debar people with disabilities from opening independent accounts.
Persons with disabilities are compelled to produce witnesses every time, they visit banks to make online transactions through real-time gross settlement and national electronic funds transfer.
Disabled customers are also perceived as dependent on their family members; they are seen as lacking independent agency to make their own decisions.
The situation is worse for those with hearing impairments and intellectual disabilities. If a person who is deaf visits a bank for availing the benefits of a scheme or service, the branch more often than not lacks the manpower to understand or interpret sign language.
People with psycho-social disabilities are the worst hit — they require a guardian to sign a contract on their behalf.
Disabled people are also denied also loan facilities. A majority of banks refrain from offering insurance to people with disabilities.
Despite the RBI stating that banks have to take necessary steps to provide all existing ATMs/ future ATMs with ramps so that wheel chair users/persons with disabilities can easily access them, most ATMs remain inaccessible.
All these show that disabled have been left out of the formal financial system. There is an urgent need to change the scenario, which can be done through various steps like:
RBI must ensure that its guidelines are strictly complied with and punitive action should be taken against those banks which fail to provide non-discriminatory access.
Physical infrastructure should be disabled friendly.
Latest developments in technology should be used to address the needs of disabled.