CRISIL Foundation launches 20 financial literacy centres

CRISIL Foundation, the CSR arm of CRISIL Ltd, has launched 20 Money-Wise Centres for Financial Literacy’ in Haryana and Maharashtra.

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MUMBAI: The centres, set up under the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) pilot project to drive financial literacy and inclusion, are located at the block level to to facilitate greater access.

CRISIL Foundation is one of six non-profits and the only corporate CSR arm empanelled by the RBI to implement the pilot. The non-profits, with the support of sponsor banks, are to set up the centres in 80 blocks across nine states.

CRISIL Foundation will set up and manage 20 centres until 2020 ─ five in Gurugram and Mewat (Haryana) in association with Syndicate Bank; five in Panipat and Karnal (Haryana) with Punjab National Bank; five in Washim (Maharashtra) with the State Bank of India; and five in Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) with Bank of India. The foundation and its sponsor banks will reach out to 6,25,628 households in 2,233 villages over the next three years.

The centres have been designed to raise financial awareness, promote good financial practices, and drive sustainable change in behaviour, ultimately resulting in informed financial choices and greater sense of control over one’s finances. The centres will use a combination of educational videos, experiential learning and financial planning tools to drive home key messages and benefits of using formal financial services.

Ramraj Pai, President, CRISIL Foundation, said, “CRISIL has been committed to strengthening the financial capabilities of socially and economically disadvantaged communities since 2012. Through these centres, we want to minimise every household’s financial vulnerability. We believe that promoting good financial practices in the community, creating an enabling environment, and developing a network of trained financial inclusion experts are crucial to driving inclusion at the last mile.”

The centre staff has been picked from local communities and has been thoroughly trained by the foundation. As field workers, this trained cadre will actively engage with the communities and encourage them to visit the centre for guidance ─ right from the fundamentals of personal finance, to goal-based financial planning, to depositor rights
and redressal mechanisms, and digital financial transactions.

Villagers can also avail of financial counselling services from field coordinators in their own homes, or at the centres. Ergo, the model has the potential and the ability to holistically improve the financial health of each individual in a community.

Maya Vengurlekar, Chief Operating Officer, CRISIL Foundation, said, “The centres will serve as a hub of (financial) knowledge and training, facilitate financial counselling, and create a strong support structure to address the immediate financial needs of communities. Our experience of working with the rural population in different states leads us to believe that an effective last-mile bridge delivering guidance and providing handholding support at the doorsteps can boost uptake of financial services substantially.”

Since 2015, CRISIL Foundation has reached out to 100,000 women in Assam through Mein Pragati, its flagship project for financial inclusion. The foundation has maintained a structured approach in identifying areas of intervention and driving deep social impact.

Mein Pragati has been customised for new geographies and target groups, and adapted to community radio as a medium of mass outreach. The foundation has a presence in central,
northern and western India through its financial inclusion interventions.

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