SKOCH Development Foundation’s Samavesh is a programme aimed at alleviating poverty through a dovetail of financial literacy and financial inclusion. Samavesh is based on one and a half decade of SKOCH Group’s own ground research in the hinterlands of the country. These insights empowered the group to propagate its own model of inclusive growth in 2007 which is aimed at targeting poverty at the grassroots level. The interventions through Samavesh programme are aimed at the same with a focus on three areas – financial inclusion, digital inclusion and social inclusion. While inclusion has got the attention of the policy makers in recent years, the issues haven’t been addressed in a holistic manner yet. Skoch Development Foundation, a not-for-profit Section 25 company, launched Samavesh programme in 2012 with an objective to address these issues in a holistic manner.
The idea is to bring financial literacy to the grassroots level and empower people to take care of their own finances. This happens with collaboration with community-based organisations in rural areas.
Samavesh also reaches out to introduce banking, provident fund, insurance, investments and even high-end products like ETFs to a long list of citizens from different walks of life in order to empower them. The introduction to financial products, training in using them and insights into earning annuity income by becoming change-agents helps attack poverty by generating and protecting livelihoods.
In the area of digital inclusion, Samavesh goes beyond the textbook definition of digital literacy and helps people actually use their mobile phones to do productive financial management. This empowers people to use a wide range of digital products such as BHIM UPI, IMPS and RTGS etc for digital payments. Moreover, beneficiaries are trained to do online transactions as well as buying and looking for financial products on the internet. Social inclusion begins with income protection and having a social security base that protects in all-weather situations. Samavesh guarantees the same by introducing a gamut of insurance products that protect beneficiary’s life, health, cattle and crops.
At the same time, the provident fund is introduced to help income protection and financial advisories are provided to ensure inflation-proofing of wealth.
It started with a rollout on 30th November 2012 at Chakrata block of Dehradun district in Uttarakhand. Since then, it has been expanded across the country. More than 6,000 people have been trained under the scheme so far and many continue to be trained and bridge the divide from have-nots to the haves. The main objectives of the Samavesh programme are defeating poverty, women empowerment, promoting village-level entrepreneurship, livelihood linkages and creating an additional revenue stream for the industry. Major targets of the programme are the following:
- To create a resource base of financially and digitally literate resource persons. This includes electronic payments, credit and debit cards, RuPay, BHIM, UPI and so on.
- To work with community-based organisations in rural areas to achieve the expanded objective of working at the grassroots directly and training people first hand.
- To work in urban areas in educated, literate communities to help promote advanced financial products beyond banking and insurance.
- To dovetail electronic delivery of citizen services with the delivery of financial services.
- To provide direct financial services (without intermediaries) to those who need them the most via digital means.
- Encourage and promote the use of digital/electronic cash.
- Implemented through community participation.
- To make them aware of Gold ETFs, SIPs, Mutual Funds and benefits of investing in these capital market instruments.
- To promote income protection through Provident Funds, income generation through annuities and stock markets as well as livelihood creation for banking correspondents through the promotion of supply-side service delivery
- To promote supply side and demand side measures to achieve the objectives of credit availability, livelihood promotion and poverty alleviation.
Samavesh programme has been organised across the country. After a start in Uttarakhand, it was organised in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi. However, participation in the programme has been from all over the country.