Queen Máxima visits India to promote access to financial services

From Monday 30 June to Wednesday 2 July, Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a visit to India in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. She will be in New Delhi from Monday 30 June until the morning of 1 July. In the afternoon she will travel to Mumbai, concluding her visit on Wednesday 2 July. India is a key country for inclusive financing.

Queen Máxima was invited to India by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Dr Raghuram Rajan. This central bank has been working for many years to give more people access to a bank or savings account and to encourage them to take out insurance and loans. Opening a bank account in India is subject to strict requirements. The RBI is urging commercial banks to relax the rules. India has extensive experience in improving access to financial services. Its IT and communications infrastructure is well organised and government, banks and non-profit organisations work together closely.

Despite these efforts, some 500 million of the 1.2 billion people living in India do not use the formal financial system, especially those living in poverty or in remote areas. Small and medium-sized enterprises, too, often lack access to financial services. This hampers economic growth for individuals, businesses and the country as a whole. The Indian government is committed to providing these groups with access to financial services.

In Delhi, Queen Máxima will speak with finance minister Arun Jaitley and representatives of financial organisations. In Mumbai she will attend a meeting with the directors of the banks' association and the World Bank Group. On Wednesday 2 July she will give a speech at the Reserve Bank of India, meet with Governor Rajan and take part in discussions with central bank partners.