The sudden move to demonetise a bulk of Indian currency in circulation and the deteriorating agrarian distress in the country have exposed the consequences of financial exclusion, said a report released Tuesday.
The India Exclusion Report 2017-18 brought out by Centre for Equity Studies (CES), said people's ability to spend, receive wages and survive depended crucially on whether they were part of the banking system or not after 84 per cent of all cash in the economy was made invalid on November 8, 2016.
"The experience of demonetisation, as well as the further deterioration in the crisis in agriculture, has brought to the forefront the consequences of financial exclusion in India," it said.
The report comes a nearly a week after farmers from across the country gathered in Delhi to highlight their issues. They marched peacefully in the national capital and demanded that the government ensure remunerative prices for their produce and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report.
Following demonetisation, the agriculture sector was one of the worst hit as farmers usually deal in cash.
The CES report also viewed the abolition of the Planning Commission and discontinuation of Five Year Plans as having "adverse implications" for decentralised planning and social equity.
"Planning Commission was pro-actively engaged in developing Plan budgets, preparation of FYPs and overseeing the implementation of Scheduled Caste and Tribal sub-plans, on the other hand, the NITI Aayog has no direct involvement in planning and budgetary processes," it noted.
On January 1, 2015, the socialist-era Planning Commission was replaced by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). It is headed by the prime minister and has all chief ministers as members in a broad-based Governing Council to involve states in evolving national development priorities.
The report comprises critical reviews of exclusion in terms of public goods — including higher education, tribal land, banking and credit, and access to justice for those on death row — in the form of field-based and analytical write-ups.
Releasing the report, Harsh Mander, CES director, said each chapter in it is best seen as evidence-based reflections striving to see the extent and ways in which the Indian State has succeeded or failed in fulfilling the constitutional mandate.
(With inputs from agencies.)