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B O U R S E S : L I T E R A C Y
Bull-frog in the well
Bear and Bull are Bhaloo and Baiyl to the common man

As the stock markets tumble in the country, investors are scurrying for cover. Glaring headlines and newspapers filled with items on the crash have tormented, rather than soothed the frayed nerves of investors. The irony of the phenomenon of the economic growth of a country, however, is related to clichéd jargons and almost unintelligible nature of the news and information that is disseminated on a regular basis.

Consider this: the stock market, which has been an ever-increasing vehicle of middle class investment strategies, remains virtually shrouded in mystery. Despite the efforts of SEBI to simplify the dissemination of information to investors, almost the entire terminology employed in the manuals of companies remains incomprehensible to the common man. Terms such as P/E ratio, S&P CNX Nifty, PLR might be commonplace for seasoned investors, but they are none other than Greek to the common man. Importantly, while analysing the forthcoming investment options or information pertaining to the stock exchange, the mass media inevitably employs jargon. Millions of investors who have the wherewithal to invest, remain sceptical and cut-off from the stock market. The evident result of this malaise, has resulted in stock markets to be at the mercy of a few operators and players who have either ramped up or pulled down the stock indices.

To analyse this trend, Invest India Economic Foundation conducted a survey across 106 districts of the country. Startlingly, the survey revealed that almost 60% of the respondents had no inkling of their net worth, while only 40% understood insurance. The story doesn’t begin or end here. Despite the hype that surrounds the ritual announcements made during the time the annual Budget is presented, the employment of high-falutin English and economic jargon has ensured that millions remain woefully unaware of the opportunities presented by the economic development of India.

In light of this, the drive for the financial literacy of the masses becomes imperative. The recent commissioning of the drive by the HRD Ministry, the Ministry of Finance & the CBSE, which seeks to impart the basic understanding of markets and financial investments, needs to be promoted in a major way. SEBI should promote the use of regional languages and Hindi for publishing information related to investment options. After all, if the economy of the country is to prosper, it has to be made an inclusive process, down to the last man.

Kumar Anuj

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