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Financial Education efforts made by the Financial Sector Regulators

 

1. Strengthening Financial Inclusion in the country has been one of the important developmental agendas of both the Government of India and the four Financial Sector Regulators (viz. RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA). Financial literacy supports the pursuit of financial inclusion by empowering the customers to make informed choices leading to their financial well-being.

 

2. Subsequent to completion of the period of the first National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE: 2013-2018), a review of the progress made was undertaken by the Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy (TGFIFL- Chair: Deputy Governor, RBI) under the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC-Chair: Hon'ble Union Finance Minister). Based on the review of progress made under the Strategy and keeping in view the various developments that have taken place over the last 5 years[1], notably the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) in consultation with the four Financial Sector Regulators and other relevant stakeholders has prepared the revised NSFE (2020-2025).

 

Financial education initiatives undertaken by the Financial Sector Regulators are as below.

 

A. Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

 

Basic Financial Education: RBI has prescribed the following content for basic financial education:

a. Financial Literacy guide, Financial Diary and set of 16 posters prepared by RBI
b. Special camps booklet prepared by NCFE for people newly inducted into the financial system which captures the fundamental tenets of financial wellbeing such as savings, borrowings, concept of interest and compounding, time value of money, inflation, relation between risk and rewards etc.

 

Sector Focused Financial Education: The content covers relevant topics in the banking sector such as ATMs, payment systems such as NEFT, UPI, USSD, awareness about sachet portal, keeping away from Ponzi schemes, fictitious emails/calls, KYC, Exercising Credit Discipline, Business Correspondents etc. A Financial Awareness Messages (FAME) booklet comprising of 20 messages for the general public and five Posters on financial literacy for the Financial Literacy Week have been made available on the Financial Education webpage of RBI's website.

 

Public Awareness Campaign

 

  • Important press releases, statements, regulatory guidelines, speeches, clarifications and events are tweeted on RBI's twitter handle '@RBI' and videos are relayed on RBI's YouTube link. A separate Twitter handle '@RBI says' and Facebook page 'RBI Says' publish messages and information of interest for greater awareness and understanding of the Bank's functions. Reserve Bank of India envisages limited two-way communication and engagement over social media and monitors its social media presence.
  • Over the years, RBI is constantly reaching out to the common man through outreach programmes, financial literacy initiatives, space in mass media and social media platforms, etc. Reserve Bank of India also empowers the members of public by informing them about facilities and services to expect from banks and financial institutions through 'Public awareness campaign' which aims to educate the members of public regarding their rights and responsibilities in banking related matters. The campaigns are done on a regular basis in newspaper, TV, Radio, Cinema, Digital channels, SMS and hoardings, under the tagline 'RBI Kehta Hai'.
  • For the video spots, at present, some cricketers and badminton players who are employees of the Reserve Bank of India and also are a part of various IPL/PBL teams have been roped in. The stories in these video spots work at many levels. Apart from the main message, the story line also builds an immediate emotional connect with the audience and the conversational script helps keep human interest alive in a dry subject like nitty gritty of a bank account.
  • The public awareness campaign of the Reserve Bank of India started in 2017 and gathered steam in 2018. Advertisements on Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA), Safe Digital Banking, Limited Liability and Ease of Banking for Senior Citizens were released in popular events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Asian Games, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Pro Kabbadi League, Pro Badminton League and India-New Zealand One Day International.
  • A film on BSBDAs explains how opening of this account obviates the requirement of minimum balance. A film on Safe Digital Banking cautions the public about sharing card and PIN details while carrying out digital transactions. Another film on Limited Liability explains the recourse available in the event of card fraud. A film on 'Ease of Banking for Senior Citizens' elucidates facilities like doorstep banking available for senior citizens. These films, using cricketers and badminton players, who are employees of the Reserve Bank of India, were widely disseminated in media advertisements.
  • A unique feature of the public awareness campaign is the missed call element: upon giving a missed call to the number 14440, the caller will receive information through a pre-recorded Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), avoiding the miscommunication or over-communication of a call centre approach. In the non-Hindi speaking regions, mobile phone subscribers receive messages in English and regional languages, so that the connect with common person is immediate and all encompassing.

 

B. Securities and Exchange Board of India

 

Basic Financial Education: SEBI has undertaken the following initiatives for basic financial education:

 

a. Financial Education through Resource Persons Program to impart financial education to public. The eligible individuals trained and empanelled as RPs (in districts) by SEBI who can conduct free workshops in local language and are paid honorarium. The basic concepts of finance, banking, insurance, pension and investments are covered across five Target groups (viz. Home Makers, Self-Help groups, Executives, Middle Income Groups, Retired personnel). During the workshops, free financial education booklets are distributed.


b. Visit to SEBI by students


c. Financial Education Booklet covering basics of concepts like Financial planning, Savings, Investment, Insurance, Pension, Borrowing, Tax saving, caution against Ponzi schemes, Grievance redressal etc

 

Sector Specific Financial Education: SEBI has the following initiatives for sector focused financial education:

a. Investor awareness programs by SEBI recognized Investors' Associations
b. Regional Seminars in association with Exchanges/Depositories
c. Commodity awareness programs by SEBI recognized Commodity Derivatives Trainers

 

In addition to the above, SEBI has also undertaken the following initiatives:

Participation in World Investor Week in association with International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO): With the objective of highlighting the initiatives taken by various financial market regulators in the direction of conducting investor protection and education awareness activities, IOSCO has been organizing every year a weeklong global campaign referred to as World Investor Week (WIW). SEBI participated in IOSCO WIW by organising various financial literacy and investor awareness programmes during this week across the country.

 

Dedicated Investor Website: A dedicated website http://investor.sebi.gov.in is maintained for the benefit of investors. The website provides relevant educational/ awareness material and other useful Further, schedules of various investor and financial education programmes are also displayed on the website for the information of investors.

 

Mass Media Campaign:In order to reach out to people, SEBI has embarked on a mass media campaign giving relevant messages to investors through popular media. Since year 2012, SEBI has carried out various awareness campaigns in multi mass media (TV/Radio/Print/bulk SMS) on topics as mentioned below:

  • Investor grievance redressal mechanism
  • Collective Investment Scheme - Unrealistic returns.
  • Collective Investment Scheme – Don't Go by Hearsay.
  • Application Supported by Blocked amount (ASBA) - Initial Public Offering (IPO).
  • Dabba Trading
  • Caution against Hot Tips

 

Additionally, posters on cautionary messages listed above were printed in various languages and distributed to district collectors, panchayat offices, etc. in various languages.

 

Investor Grievance Redressal: SEBI has been taking various regulatory measures to expedite the redressal of investors grievances. The grievances lodged by investors are taken up with the respective listed company or intermediary and continuously SEBI Complaints Redressal System (SCORES) has helped the investors in real time knowledge of status of their grievances since investors can log onto SCORES at any time and from anywhere and check the status of the grievances with the help of user-name and password provided to them at the time of lodging grievances.

 

SEBI Toll Free Helpline: SEBI had launched toll free helpline service numbers 1800 22 7575/1800 266 7575 on December 30, 2011. The helpline service is available every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (except on declared public holidays in Maharashtra) to investors from all over India. The helpline service is available in English, Hindi and various regional languages.

 

C. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

Since its inception, IRDAI has taken various initiatives in the area of financial literacy. A snapshot of the major initiatives undertaken are as under:

 

              • Content Development: A Brochure was prepared giving a bird's eye view of IRDAI and its functions has been prepared besides a documentary film on Policyholder Initiatives carried out by IRDAI. Further, 'Policyholder Handbook' as well as a comic book series in 12 vernacular languages on insurance has been developed. Further, animation film of the messages in the Comic Book Series and virtual tour in 12 vernacular languages were made. In addition to the above, handbooks on Insurance covering topics like employment opportunities in the Insurance sector, details about Crop Insurance, right buying etc. were launched.

 

    • Mandating Board Approved Policy for Insurers: Insurers are mandated to have Board approved Insurance Awareness Policy with action plan for organizing various activities promoting consumer awareness on various aspects of insurance.

 

    • Undertaking Seminar and Quiz Programme: Conducting Quiz competition for insurance intermediaries/insurers as participants. Organizing seminars on Policyholder protection and Welfare besides sponsoring seminars conducted by Consumer Bodies and NGOs in rural, semi-urban areas

 

  • Undertaking Awareness Campaigns for Public through various channels:

Television and Radio: Awareness programmes on television and radio on messages about the rights and duties of policyholders, channels available for dispute redressal have been undertaken. Pan-India campaign against spurious callers through TV Commercials and Radio jingles on the utility and benefits of various forms of insurance in five regional languages aired through All India Radio, FM Radio and 144 private FM channels.


Print Media: Sustained campaigns in English, Hindi and 11 other Indian languages undertaken including cautioning the general public about the spurious callers and fictitious offers


Website: Launching a dedicated website for consumer education in insurance to reach out to the policyholders more effectively. A Hindi version of the website was also launched to increase its reach. New Insurance material viz. Introduction to Insurance; Employment opportunities in Insurance Sector targeting students; Crop Insurance for the benefit of farmers and Handbook on Insurance with FAQs on right buying & generic aspects of insurance added from time to time. 'Young Corner'- an interactive six game featurette was launched on the Policyholders website.


Social Media Campaigns: Leveraging Social Media viz. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for dissemination of financial education by uploading relevant messages


Metro Rail: Undertaking Insurance Awareness Campaigns in metro rails in various cities like New Delhi, Hyderabad etc.


Sponsoring Pan India Insurance Awareness Campaign on Motor, Health, Rural and Property Insurance by General Insurance Council.

 

  • Grievance Redressal: Setting up of Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) to create a central repository of grievances across the country and provides for various analyses of data indicative of areas of concern to the insurance policyholder.

 

  • Undertaking Survey and Sponsoring Research:

*Conducting a pan India survey on awareness levels about insurance through the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in a bid to improve on its strategy of creating insurance awareness. A post launch survey was also done to gauge the efficacy of the campaigns of IRDAI in increasing insurance penetration and awareness.

 

*Launching a Research Grant Scheme to have research and analysis to protect interest of policy holders

 

D.Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

 

PFRDA has launched a dedicated website called "Pension Sanchay" in 2018. Through this website, PFRDA aims towards addressing the need of financial literacy from the perspective of retirement planning. The content of the website has been designed keeping into view the four most important concepts in financial decision making- knowledge of interest rates, interest compounding, inflation and risk diversification. The website has separate blog segment where blogs written by the professionals in the financial sectors and the officers of the Authority are made available which provides meaningful insight regarding the fundamentals of finance, banking and investments.

 

PFRDA conducts subscriber awareness programs through its central record keeping agencies at different places across India. Further, PFRDA also has empaneled a dedicated training agency for creating subscriber awareness and capacity building regarding the NPS and APY. In addition to the above, PFRDA also conducts Annuity Literacy Program in co-ordination with NPS Trust and Annuity Service Providers for making subscribers aware about the different annuities available to them.

 


 

[1] Increased penetration of mobile phones, retail digital transactions, growing adult population in the country, entry of Payments and Small Finance Banks, Fin-Tech players and awareness on the need to manage one's finances.

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