Assam has always been an agrarian society with the majority of people engaged in agriculture and allied activities. However, issues like fragmented landholding, illiteracy, remoteness of villages and ignorance have been major obstacles to achieving financial inclusiveness in society. There is an acute need for awareness among the masses regarding the core banking services and products such as savings, loans, pensions, insurance and payments.
Understanding this need the Krisarthak – an assignment on financial education and counselling (FEC) of the farmers was formally launched on the 10th of January 2023. Krisarthak has been launched as a program under World bank funded Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) with an aim to enhance the financial inclusion of the farm community and encourage responsible use of financial services and products by them.
The inauguration of Krisarthak took place in the presence of Mr. Ajai Nair, Sr. Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank and Shri Akash Deep, IAS, SPD, ARIAS Society. Mr. Nair in his address to the gathering highlighted that Krisarthak will be one of the most unique digital-based and enabled financial literacy programs in India as it will strive to provide financial education and counselling using digital tools and platforms.
Along with education, Krisarthak will bring the financial advisory service to the doorstep of every farmer, using digital means. This personalised advisory service will help farmers plan, manage and invest money to optimise their financial growth. The program will also incorporate Farmer’s Financial Health Survey and generate Financial Health cards for households.
Mr. Akash Deep, IAS, SPD, ARIAS Society while speaking about Krisarthak added “Krisarthak will be one of the biggest financial literacy drives to be launched in Assam. Further, it will engage over two lakh fifty thousand farmers in just a period of two years”.
Krisarthak is being implemented by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) as the lead implementing partner. The launch also marked the beginning of the pilot phase of Krisarthak. Till March 2023 all the ICT tools and digital modes will be tested among 5000 Farmers in 5 districts of Assam. The final rollout is slated for May 2023.
The self-paced e-learning module on financial products and services will be made easily available to the farmers in the local language through a chatbot platform called Bittiya Sakhi.
Krisarthak, will offer 360-degree support to farmers using integrated ICT tools. In the long run, Krisarthak aims to build a community where every individual is able to participate in the Nation’s financial system and contribute to its economic growth.