NEW Delhi: In an email to all bank officers referring to his financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the task of achieving a bank account for each household as a national priority, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Monday.
Urging bank officers to "put your shoulder to the wheel and try your level best to ensure that no one is left without a bank account", Modi said he would eventually recognize the achievements of the best performing branches.
Under the Jan Dhan Yojana, to be launched simultaneously across the nation Thursday every account holder gets a RuPay debit card with a 100,000 accident cover.
"As we go along, they will be covered by insurance and pension products," Modi said.
With a bank account, every household gains access to banking and credit facilities, which will enable them to come out of the grip of moneylenders and keep away from financial crises caused by emergent needs, Modi wrote. "We want to integrate the poorest of the poor people with bank accounts," the prime minister announced during the course of his Independence Day speech from the historic Red Fort here.
"Why is our farmer committing suicide today? He takes credit, but can't repay. So he dies," Modi said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech July 10 that the prime minister himself will launch a financial inclusion scheme. He later said it will also deter people from putting their monies in fraudulent schemes and losing it.
Finance ministry officials said besides the organised financial system, some 225,000 mom-and-pop shops that function as correspondent bankers or representatives will be roped in to provide all the financial inclusion schemes.
The officials said the mission will have two phases - one starting immediately with a year's target for universal banking and the second from the next Independence Day that will take up insurance and pension and conclude Aug 14, 2018
The mission will dovetail into it the RuPay credit card scheme launched by the state-run National Payments Corp in May to enable ATM withdrawals and electronic payments at all Indian banks and financial institutions.
As per 2011 Census, only 58.7 percent Indian households availed banking services. The finance ministry estimates that 75 million households still do not have access to financial services.
Around 600 million people are also under-banked.