Empowering people with financial inclusion

Purnima Sharma

Sogada, a small village of Jashpur district in Chhattisgarh, is beautifully nestled in the lap of nature. The picturesque settlement is surrounded by green hills which make the village somewhat difficult to access. Not surprisingly, this inaccessibility has added to the difficulties being faced by the villagers in this region. Ask Roshni Bai, a resident of this village who says that the nearest bank to this village is 15 kilometer far, and for this very reason, the banking services were beyond the reach of villagers.

Even after 69 years of Independence, people like Roshni Bai could not be brought within the banking system. Roshni Bai and their future generations could have been living in the same conditions, but for a new change occurred. Some ‘Bank Mitras’ from a bank visited her village and explained the meaning of savings and availing banking services at their door step. It was a new dawn for the villagers. People from the bank explained the benefits of opening a bank account to them. They were also told that they didn't need to visit bank now and for banking services. Bank Correspondents will provide most of the banking services to them at their doorstep. After knowing all this, there was no reason for them but to open a bank account.

Roshni Bai now has a fair amount of savings in her bank account and this has encouraged her and her husband to save more. The couple is now planning to enhance their monthly deposits and save enough money to buy a scooter for the household. This would enhance the mobility of family members and help increase the income. For the first time, Roshni Bai and crores of such people now have bank in their lives, and it happened only due to Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojna (PMJDY).

Under this Scheme, a majority of people who opened their bank accounts were earlier outside the periphery of banking system. The number of people who have been included in the banking system, in such a short time, is a global record. Both public and private banks have been roped in for this scheme.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched on August  28, 2014 by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in the national capital with a vision to bring unbanked section of the society into mainstream banking. The Scheme was initiated to provide bank account and banking services to each household in the country so as to have comprehensive financial inclusion. So far, as on 29th June, 2016, more than 22.29 crore new bank accounts have been opened under the Yojna with a total deposits of over Rs 39,251.57 crore in these accounts, and overdraft facility has been availed in about 20 lakhs accounts.

Out of all the accounts opened under the scheme, 61% are in rural areas and more than 52% are women account holders.

As on 29th June, 2016, 10.39 crore of the accounts opened under PMJDY are seeded with Aadhar numbers. In addition to this, 18.22 crore Rupay Cards have been issued under PMJDY. Out of all the accounts opened under PMJDY, the zero balance accounts are now left almost one fourth only, that is 25.29 percent, which means people have started doing transactions in their accounts.

Guinness Book of World Records has recognized the Achievements made under PMJDY especially the largest number of bank accounts opened under PMJDY in a shortest time.

The most striking feature of this Scheme is that instead of delivering banking services to villages, the focus is on households. Earlier, cities were not included in the scheme assuming that banks were already there. But 8.60 crore accounts opened in cities under PMJDY showed that it was needed in cities too. (PIB/To be continued)

Sunday, 8 January, 2017