April 6, 2023, New Delhi, India – Grameen Foundation India (GFI) and the Business Correspondent Federation of India (BCFI) have jointly released a groundbreaking report, “Reimagining the Next-generation BC Model”. The report is based on a two-day CXO Roundtable Conference hosted by GFI and BCFI in November 2022 where leaders in the finance industry came together to chart a more inclusive and viable future for the Business Correspondents (BCs) in India.
The roundtable helped show the path toward the next-generation BC model. It provided a dynamic platform for industry experts to come together and co-create a strategy to build this model as they discussed the issues threadbare.
The experts’ 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 dire need to significantly expand 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 the 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.
“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,” said Mahesh Jain, Chairperson, BCFI and Co-Founder, Integra Micro Systems Pvt Ltd.
“BC-Sakhis are playing an integral role in providing financial solutions to the unbanked population in India. They are crucial in handholding and acquainting the masses to financial services while driving financial inclusion at the last mile. It is our goal to offer ample avenues of sustainable growth to these women, who, in turn, are financially empowering Bharat. We believe that the recommendations put forward in this report will pave the way for the BC industry to reach its full potential, strengthen the capacities of BC-Sakhis and help them increase their incomes,” said Anand Kumar Bajaj, Co-Chair, BCFI and Founder MD & CEO, PayNearby.
“Gender equality in the BC industry is essential for sustainable economic growth and requires the active participation and collaboration of stakeholders across the industry. By increasing women’s participation and leadership in the BC industry, we can improve access to financial services for underserved communities, promote more responsible and inclusive practices, and create a more equitable and sustainable financial system for all,” said Purna Roy Chowdhary, Associate Director – Women Economic Empowerment and Gender, Grameen Foundation India.
The GFI-BCFI 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.