Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said that Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY) is a historic opportunity to end work together using open platforms to genuinely end poverty and deprivation in India.
Speaking at the CII Summit on Financial Inclusion held on the first anniversary of the launch of the PMJDY on Thursday, he said “I think we have a historic opportunity to work together using open platforms to genuinely end poverty and deprivation in India.”
Speaking on one of the signature programmes of the Government, Sinha said that the Government wants to take the benefits of financial inclusion to the last mile. In other words, the effort would be towards achieving ‘Antyodya’. Three broad themes outlined by him were the vision behind financial inclusion, the approach followed by the Government and ground realities of achieving holistic financial inclusion in India.
He pointed out that the the effort would be to achieve universal social security through JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile) trinity.
Enlisting the ground realities, he said that providing simple products with security, creating financial awareness amongst the populace and strengthening of the distribution network are necessary.
Earlier, Hemant Contractor, Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) highlighted the importance of expanding the coverage of pension in the country. He mentioned that the overall coverage of pension in the country was just around 12 – 13 per cent and there was a need to integrate pensions in the Jan Dhan Yojana to strengthen the social security system of the country. Further, Contractor outlined the differences between the earlier Swavalamban scheme and the Atal Pension Yojana, stating that necessary improvements in the pension scheme have been made in the form of providing guaranteed pensions.
Alok Pande, Director (Financial Inclusion) and Additional Mission Director- PMJDY, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, highlighted a significant hurdle in financial inclusion was that majority of basic bank accounts opened under the financial inclusion campaign were non-operative zero- balance accounts. The PMJDY has been successful in improving deposits of banks and the non-operative zero balance accounts has declined from 79 percent to 45 percent.
Tiwari, Chairman & Managing Director, Union Bank of India, commended the government efforts in opening more than 17 crore bank accounts within a year and providing an identity to the people through linking of the Aadhar card and the bank accounts. He also said that financial inclusion is not only a bilateral responsibility of the government and banks but also of the society.
Ramesh Iyer, Managing Director, Mahindra Finance Ltd shared his views that even as financial inclusion was all about providing credit at an affordable cost to the customers, it can also become a profitable business model with a focus on customer centric approach and right product design. He stressed that there was a need for strengthening the financial literacy among the customers.
Rajiv Lall, Executive Chairman, IDFC emphasized that to strengthen the financial inclusion agenda on the foundation of PMJDY there was a need to make adequate use of the infrastructure to support the cash- in cash- out structure, administrative push is required to make optimal use of the Aadhar platform, and policy initiatives are crucial for the success of social security schemes announced as the next phase of PMJDY.