Banking Article, Banking Finance 2022, Banking Finance May 2022

“Time Bank is need of the time”


The concept of Time Banks is gaining momentum at a rapid pace in the entire world. Time banks have been established in 34 countries .The numbers of Time Banks have grown sharply in the year 1940. At that time the number of Time Banks in United States were500 and now more than 37000 enrolments exist. TimeBanks also have a significant presence in Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Senegal, Argentina, Israel, Greece, and Spain.

The Joint Family System of our own country was in operation since inception.  It acts as a strong bulwark against the problems arising due to old age and also problems arising due to penury.  The joint family systems have also their limitations. Under this system one person was earning and rest persons were dependent on them. Finally the burden of resources as well as change of socio- cultural crumbled the joint family system. In search of employment the members of joint family move out of the system. This created a new concept in the name of nuclear family system. Hence, the need of Timebanks is very much relevant in India as of today. More over the reasons about the importance of Time Bank are many more. In our country the habit of serving the old people in new generation are dwindling day by day. It is often seen that children after getting job either forget their parents or ignore them. In such circumstances, the role of Times Bank is vital.

What is the concept of Time bank?

Time banking is a bartering system for services, where people exchange services for labour-time based credits, rather than money. The term “Time Banking” was coined and trademarked by American lawyer Edgar Cahn, who advocated its use to supplement government social services.

The Swiss Government has started the initiative in their country. The Swiss Ministry of Health has created a time-bank concept to assist senior citizens in the country.

Under this Time Bank one side new generation persons will secure themselves for getting old by investing their time in serving old people.  As by giving service they will get a card as like credit card that can be used when they will become old.  By doing, so the inclination towards helping others will grow. This will strengthen the society as well as country in a long way.  In nutshell the concept of Time Bank is boon for all citizens.

The Five Core Values of Time Banking:

Edgar Cahn is the founder of modern timebanking. He noticed that successful timebanks almost always work with some specific core values in place. In his book No More Throw-Away People, he listed four values.  Later, he added a fifth. These have come to be widely shared as the five core values of time banking – and most timebanks strive to follow them. They are a strong starting point for successful time banking.

Asset: Every one of us has something valuable to share with someone else.

Redefining Work: There are some forms of work where remuneration cannot be in the form of money like building strong families, revitalizing neighborhoods, making democracy work, advancing social justice. Time credits were designed to reward, recognize and honor that work.

Reciprocity:  It helps that works as a two-way street and empowers everyone involved .The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “Will you help someone too?”By doing this we ensure that, we help each other and build the world of togetherness were we all will live in.

Social Networks:  By helping each other we increase support, strength & trust of communities The Community is built by sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. Through this Time banking, we can strengthen and support these activities.

Respect: It underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. It also supplies the heart and soul of democracy. We strive to respect where people are in the present moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.

Who can use Time banking?

  • Anyone can use this Time bank
  • It includes individuals, groups, organizations, government agencies, churches, businesses.
  • It also includes any organization that is helped by volunteers. Volunteers can earn time credits for the help they provide. They receive one credit for each hour of service.

But it is important to remember that in time banking, both receiving and giving have equal weight. Here People cannot give till others will not receive .Both are bound up together and mutual value is found through both.

You can take up Time banking in two ways. Either join a Timebank that has already been created and start giving and receiving services with other members or form a team to create a new Timebank and invite people to join.

What Can Time banking do?

Currently, the most common model of Time banking focuses on neighbors-helping. In this way they help the most vulnerable person and to build a strong sense of community. But in some places, people and organizations are approaching Time banking as an opportunity to design targeted uses of Time banking to achieve specific goals.

Here are list of the things that people have done with Time banking:

  • Strengthened the sense of community.
  • Improved learning at school.
  • Reduced the number of droppings from school.
  • Helped public to save money by using public house.
  • Supported hospital patients as they return to regular life at home.
  • Brought art and music into a community.
  • Helped seniors remain at home.


A subcommittee within the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also recommended that India should test a pilot project under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The true value of any noble intentions or concept lies in its implementation. In our country we are adding 4.5 million senior citizens to its population every year. The rapid nuclearization of families, improved education, longer life expectancy and good job opportunities are extending scope of Time Bank. The COVID -19 pandemic once again proved this dependency factor of our country.  Besides the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens amendment bill 2019  which is big step for strengthening this concept.

Way forward:

The scope of time Bank is not similar as the scope of normal bank. Here there is great opportunity for banking industry. In general due to decreasing margin in loan Banks are vying for non interest income. The work of Time bank is new concept in our country. If we provide the same type of service and we will charge for that service in lieu of card then it will be boon for banking industry. Through this Time bank concept normal Bank can increase their balance sheet by adding more revenue from this concept. Of late, the Government of India started door to door service for the customers of the bank. The purpose is to give facility to senior citizens of India. The work of Time bank is related to the service of senior citizen.  Keeping in view the EASE reforms of Government of India it is expected that very soon the concept of Time bank will be one pillar. As we aware that EASE ranking is Public sector banks ranking. The bank who will take a lead will be benefitted. It is astonishing that till time our Indian banks are not implementing this concept. In general any new concept where there is scope of earning income is implemented by all institutions. The concept of Time Bank will not only enhance the income but at some extent will solve the unemployment rate. The ‘adhyatm’ (spirituality) department of the Kamal Nath-led government had issued the orders in this regard. If that scheme goes on track, Madhya Pradesh will be the First state in the country to have a ‘Time bank’ where you offer voluntary service to earn credit hours and get repaid the same way. The concept of Time Bank is new in our country but opportunities are many more. It may be the chance that this concept of Time bank will be one part of the normal banking. Any way implementation of this concept either may be in form of Bank or as part of the bank will serve our purpose.

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