Advocate Spotlight: Saloni Tandon
Name: Saloni Tandon
Occupation: Manager at MicroSave Consulting (MSC)
What achievement makes you most proud?
At MSC, we have been able to ensure that the Government of India and the banking infrastructure work together in an efficient and effective manner to rapidly onboard beneficiaries on to the formal financial system and enroll them in affordable social protection schemes. Over the last two years, we have helped establish new protocols, and enhance the efficiency of the existing ones across 27 districts. This has helped ensure that over 20 million new beneficiaries have access to basic bank accounts. Our project has been deemed successful and has allowed the Government of India to expand it across all 112 backward 'aspirational' districts in the form of a dedicated government led mission. This has been a major achievement for us. It allows us to share critical policy level recommendations with the government, with the aim of ensuring that all people in the country have access to basic bank accounts, and social protection.
Why do you advocate for financial literacy & inclusion?
At every stage of life, access to affordable and timely financial resources makes all the difference. For a poor, vulnerable individual, lack of access to affordable financial resources pushes him/her further in the vicious cycle of poverty. The recent COVID crisis has proved the importance of savings, and credit for the ultra poor, and the low and middle income segment. Women across the globe, and more particularly in India, face negative gender norms. The lack of - access to a safe place to save their money or avenues to borrow credit often restricts their empowerment or even worse, traps them in toxic, abusive environments. I hope to be able to bridge these gaps through my work. I believe access to finance, especially to individuals that intent to repay the money, should never be a barrier in their access to a better standard of living, quality education or quality healthcare.
What would you say is the best advice for the next generation of youth (inspiring them to become financially literate)?
Unfortunately, the world runs on money. There will be a time when you'll need money for a loved one, or to fulfill your own ambitions. Every single penny spent unwisely in the past will come to haunt you at that moment. For the sake of you and your family's future, please be wise today. Please take care of your finances today.
Favorite (inspirational) quote:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt (1910)