Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog while addressing a virtual summit, advised Fintech firms to focus on vernacular languages to reach the roots of Indian population. Kant said that the companies will end up losing a wide market if they disregard the country’s diversified dialects and languages while they help in expanding the coverage of formal financial services.
Kant stated, “Vernacular is the way forward. Financial integration efforts will need to localise their offerings and allow for dialects and languages as opposed to delivering services only in English.” The virtual event was organized by industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“Forget English and go vernacular,” Kant said while throwing light on the fact that the ignorance of vernacular language by financial firms will lead to risking all the previous efforts as people will get ‘alienated’. The career bureaucrat mentioned that India has made a significant progress in financial inclusion since the year 2011 as the ratio of citizens having a bank account stands at 80% presently as compared to 36% then.
Due to this inclusivity, India has been able to send money to the people in need through Direct Bank Transfers during the coronavirus pandemic while powers like the US have been struggling with the same. He said the 39 crore zero balance, no-frills Jan Dhan accounts have average balance of Rs 3,400 at present.
“Capital market participation is low because of lack of awareness… in India. Most investor camps are concentrated in urban areas whereas rural participation is necessary in order to democratise capital markets,” Kant said. It will be through inclusivity via vernacular languages that more people will be able to access the capital market.
Kant believes that there is a need to go beyond account openings and saving products and venture into micro lending and micro insurance. He also blames the concentration of marketing activities in cities leaving behind a large audience of rural areas. India is targeting to reach 1 billion digital transactions a day as compared to the present rate of 3 billion a month, he added.