Mumbai, Aug 28 IANS | 4 months ago

Union Minister for Power Piyush Goyal Thursday launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the national mission for financial inclusion, here.

The PMJDY will provide bank accounts to each household and make available basic banking services like withdrawal and deposits, money transfer, balance enquiry, debit card and mobile banking.

"Financial inclusion has been the priority of the NDA government and extension of banking services to all households would promote savings and contribute to overall economic growth. By announcing the PMJDY, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the 'gift of empowerment' to the poor," Goyal said.

He said financial inclusion should not just be the responsibility of the state or the bank managers, but should be a people-driven programme with participation of each citizen.

"Historically, the middle class brings transformation in the society. It has to take the lead now to inculcate banking habits among those who provide necessary services to it," Goyal said.

He called upon citizens to encourage their maids, washermen and drivers to open bank accounts.

The novel initiative saw simultaneous launches in all state capitals and other major centres, with many union ministers, chief ministers, parliamentarians and legislators attending the events.

Public sector banks set up over 70,000 special counters to open more than 10 million bank accounts on a single day, considered a record of sorts.

The PMJDY was launched in Pune by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, and in Nagpur by Minister for Shipping, Surface Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.

Conceived as a national mission for financial inclusion to be implemented in two phases, the PMJDY in the first phase (August 2014-August 2015) will focus on providing universal banking access with basic banking, limited overdraft, debit card and an in-built insurance cover of Rs.1 lakh, besides conducting financial literacy programmes.

The second phase from August 2015 to August 2018 will focus on creating a Credit Guarantee Fund for coverage of defaults in overdraft accounts, micro-insurance and providing unorganised sector pension schemes like Swavalamban.

Maharashtra's 40,000 villages shall be mapped into a sub-service area (SSA) comprising 1,000-1,500 households, with each SSA covering three-four villages.

These would be covered through a combination of banking outlets, either branch banking or branch-less banking.

For this purpose, 7,000 new bank branches will be opened, 20,000 new ATMs installed and 50,000 banking correspondents recruited in the first phase to properly implement the PMJDY.

As per the 2011 census, only 58.7 percent households in India, and 68.9 percent in Maharashtra have access to banking services.

According to estimates, of the 24.67 crore households in India, six crore in rural areas and 1.5 crore in urban centres need to be covered under the financial inclusion mission.

(Posted on 28-08-2014)

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