From ‘Informal Sector’ to ‘Financial Inclusion’, 2004–14
An ambitious project has been underway in India to shift governmental policy from addressing employment conditions in the ‘informal sector’ towards ‘financial inclusion’ as a way of regulating transactions. Whereas the former paid attention to the workers and work conditions of a sector with an obscure formal presence, the latter is concerned with making this part of the economy visible and accountable. Such accounting is considered to be automatically beneficial to the poor, with expectations pinned on technological development, especially recourse to digital systems. The policy shift is examined from around 2004/2005 to 2014 in this chapter. Some of the measurements indicative of the condition of informal workers are considered, and an analytical framework for examining ‘financial inclusion’ strategies from 2014 onwards is outlined.