Financial inclusion major step towards inclusive growth: FM Sitharaman

Financial inclusion is a major step towards inclusive growth which ensures the overall economic development of the marginalised sections of the society, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday.

The success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) since August 28, 2014 is reflected in terms of opening of over 46 crore bank accounts with deposit balance of Rs 1.74 lakh crore with its expanded coverage to 67 per cent rural or semi-urban areas as well as 56 per cent of women Jan Dhan account holders, she said on the eighth anniversary of the flagship financial inclusion scheme.

“Continuation of PMJDY beyond 2018 saw a marked shift in approach to meet challenges and requirements of the emerging FI (financial inclusion) landscape in the country.

“There has been a shift in focus from ‘every household’ to ‘every adult’, with added emphasis on usage of accounts by enhancing Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) flows through these accounts, promoting digital payments through the use of RuPay cards, etc,” an official statement quoted the minister as saying.

The underlying pillars of PMJDY — namely, banking the unbanked, securing the unsecured and funding the unfunded — has made it possible to adopt multi-stakeholders’ collaborative approach while leveraging technology for serving the unserved and underserved areas as well, she observed.

The Jan Dhan Yojana, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address in 2014, was launched on August 28 in the same year.

She also said the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) pipeline created through account holders’ consent-based linking of bank accounts with Aadhar and mobile numbers of the account holders, which is one of the important pillars of the financial inclusion ecosystem, has enabled instant DBT under various government welfare schemes to the eligible beneficiaries.

The advantage of the architecture created under FI ecosystem came handy during the COVID-19 pandemic when it facilitated direct income support to farmers under PM-KISAN and transfer of ex-gratia payment to women PMJDY account holders under PM Garib Kalyan Package in a seamless and time-bound manner, Sitharaman said.

On the occasion, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said PMJDY has been one of the most far reaching initiatives towards financial inclusion not only in India but the world.

Stressing that financial inclusion is among the top-most priorities of the government, he said it provides an avenue to the poor for bringing their savings into the formal financial system, an avenue to remit money to their families, besides taking them out of the clutches of the usurious money lenders.

As per extant RBI guidelines, a PMJDY account is treated as inoperative if there are no customer induced transactions in the account for over a period of two years.

Out of total 46.25 crore PMJDY accounts, 37.57 crore (81.2 per cent) are operative as per the latest figure. Only 8.2 per cent PMJDY accounts are zero balance accounts, while the average deposit per account is Rs 3,761.

Total RuPay cards issued to PMJDY account holders stood at 31.94 crore. The number of RuPay cards and their usage has increased over time.

The finance ministry, in the statement, said there is an endeavour to ensure coverage of PMJDY account holders under micro insurance schemes.

Eligible PMJDY account holders will be sought to be covered under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). Banks have already been communicated about the same, it added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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