Financial inclusion is an integral part of inclusive development. The first and the important step in financial inclusion is getting citizens into the formal banking system and enabling access to financial servcies. On this front the government has done a fantastic job in enabling a huge number of women to avail banking services. According to Intermedia, a global consultancy, as many as 358 million Indian women (61%) have bank accounts, up from 281 million (48%) in 2014, the biggest jump among eight South Asian and African countries surveyed. That would translate to addition of 77 million women added to Banking sector in 1 year.
Among the other important findings of the survey are
1. More women in India are financially included than ever before.
2. India and Tanzania have successfully reduced the gender gap over a year (2014 to 2015)–from 12% to 8% in India and 11% to 9% in Tanzania.
3. In 2013, before PMJDY, only 39% of women had bank accounts, compared to 55% of men.
3. Inclusion amongst women in Bangladesh grew in absolute terms, but the gap between men and women grew from 3% to 10% over this period.
All the above statistics were largely by the boost given by Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. However, the challenge is the fact that opening of bank accounts do not guarantee availing formal financial services. Informal forms of lending and borrowing with huge interest burden continues to haunt rural India in a large way. The policy challenge is to make people with accounts to use it effectively and efficiently for their own benefits.
The Logical Indian appreciates the government for their efforts towards financial inclusion. We request the government to undertake the last mile efforts to ensure Jan Dhan Yogana and other financial inclusion schemes benefits the people by enabling them to avail formal financial services.
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