Introduction: Financial Inclusion and Street Vendors
The main focus of development strategy all over the world is concerned with people’s well-being by reducing hunger and poverty, through achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), democratic governance, crisis mitigation and environment and energy preservation for sustainable development. The United Nations Millennium Assembly (UNMA) has also taken up the challenge of reducing by half the number of persons living in extreme poverty by 2015 from its 1990 level (Anker et al. 2003). The main concern in the development agenda has always been reduction of vulnerability of people and their empowerment. According to Amartya Sen, development means increasing people’s capability of choosing between alternatives (Sen 1999). Development must encompass all. Even if one segment is left out, it is not true development. Including people in development process and making them a part of the process must not be charity based; it is their right to participate in the process. As Sen points out, people must have the capability to enjoy fruits of development, and empowerment is the only way to reach this. Financial inclusion has been considered as one of ways by which people’s capability can be enhanced. Access to finance is an important macroeconomic requirement for economic growth as it leads to higher investment and income, empower households and free them from poverty circles (Solo 2008). Therefore, the financial inclusion programme has been identified as an important strategy to reduce poverty and vulnerability by including persons from all strata into the mainstream banking system. Financial inclusion will raise capacity for investment and develop saving and entrepreneurial abilities which lead to higher incomes and consequently better lives (Chakrabarty 2009). The concept has also been referred to in the ILO’s objectives. ILO’s in-focus programme for small enterprise development has focused on the role played by credit for small business development. Credit availability shall ultimately facilitate the fulfilment of ‘rights at work’ by finding institutions and partners who can provide capital for business expansion and explore tripartite involvement in microcredit systems (ILO 1999: 16).
In this study, the terms ‘hawker’ and ‘street vendor’ mean the same thing, and they are often interchanged.
KeywordsFinancial Service Informal Sector Urban Poor Financial Inclusion Street Vendor
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