Friday, April 17, 2009

Universal Financial Access by 2013

[Manju Murthy] In my earlier post, I wrote about the opportunities for disruptive innovations as emerging markets address financial inclusion, I had also written about Sanjay Bhargava, who is championing Universal Financial Access in India. He has graciously agreed to be a guest blogger at Commerce Insights (follows). Additionally Universal Financial Access India, a LinkedIn group, has been created to enable interested professionals continue such discussions and to network with each other. Please sign up to this group as well.

[Sanjay Bhargava] Manju, thank you for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog and sharing in the dream that real and not cosmetic UFAI (Universal Financial Access in India) can be achieved by 2013.

I would like to start this first post with two extracts from the Nobel acceptance speech given by Prof. Muhammad Yunus. For the full speech see

“We wanted to go to the moon, so we went there. We achieve what we want to achieve. If we are not achieving something, it is because we have not put our minds to it. We create what we want.”

“I firmly believe that we can create a poverty-free world if we collectively believe in it. In a poverty-free world, the only place you would be able to see poverty is in the poverty museums. When school children take a tour of the poverty museums, they would be horrified to see the misery and indignity that some human beings had to go through. They would blame their forefathers for tolerating this inhuman condition, which existed for so long, for so many people.”

I think it is important that we set ourselves measurable BHAG (Big Hairy Ambitious Goals) and my first attempt at articulating five goals for 2013 is there for everyone to look at and comment on. See this five slide presentation

Do you think UFA should be a national priority for India and that the five goals for 2013 can be achieved with high innovation and low subsidies?

The presentation also refers to a set of whitepapers which can be downloaded from

Most of you will not have the time or the inclination to read the whitepapers and may find them complex without explanation and context. I plan to do a series of bite sized posts highlighting the main points over the next few weeks. We are all learning and seeking solutions so critical comments are very welcome. Together we will find a way. I look forward to collective action and an interesting debate.

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