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How do the poor handle money? What do the financial diaries of char dwellers tell us about financial inclusion?

Author(s): Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt | Gopa Samanta

Journal: Space and Culture, India
ISSN 2052-8396

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Poor | livelihoods | money management | financial diary

Derived from livelihoods surveys and ethnographic material about people living on the chars, or river islands, in deltaic lower Bengal, this paper illustrates the complex, diverse and ingenious ways that the poor manage money. These islands constitute some of the most vulnerable housing locations of some of the poorest communities; state services and facilities do not reach the chars because they are not listed as land in revenue records. It demonstrates that the poor live in a diverse economy where community spirit, family assistance and trust play roles equally important to markets. In doing so, it puts forth a grounded-in-the-field, evidence-based, critique of the slogan ‘financial inclusion’ that has gained prominence in recent years.
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