`Liberalisation not a panacea to all economic ills’

April 16th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) “Liberalisation is not a whole story. Neither does it solve every economic problem nor is a panacea to all economic ills in any society,” said Mayor of London David Lewis. Addressing a gathering of banking executives in a symposium “Financial Inclusion - Sharing Indian and Britain Experience”, Lewis Wednesday said: “Any economic growth, if it does not include every strata of society in its processes then it cannot be construed as a proper growth. And in this process, banking plays an important role.”

Elaborating on the theme, he urged the Indian government that in the proposed 2009 opening of banking sector of the country, “more freedom and powers should be granted to foreign banks wanting to come to India”.

“It is only then that the foreign banks would be able to penetrate and also contribute to upliftment of people who are deprived of banking services because financial inclusion is every human’s right,” he observed.

However, while accepting that British banking system has adopted a lot of practices from India, Lewis in the same breath said: “Britain is foremost in banking, like India in micro-finance or the introduction of biometric cards. This system helped us in bringing the un-banked section in the gamut of financial inclusion.”

Taking the importance of the relationship between banking system and financial inclusion further, he said: “It’s reported that in India two million people do not have bank accounts as a result they do not have access to any credit structures.”

Citing British example wherein the financial inclusion exercise succeeded to a significant extent, he said: “It is precisely for this reason that I am urging to the Indian policy makers that when they open the banking sector they should grant more freedom and licences to foreign banks evincing interest in India,” adding “after all, our history is connected, so let us also connect our future.”

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