Women hold over 50% of Jan Dhan a/cs
TIMES New Delhi: In what marks a boost for financial inclusion, more than half of PM Jan Dhan Yojna account-holders are women and they are also carrying out transactions rather than merely opening accounts, a sample survey by a financial inclusion consulting firm has indicated.
The “State of the Agent Network 2017” report released by Microsave on Wednesday found that there has been a more than 200% increase in volumes of cashin, cash-out between 2015 and 2017. The Modi government’s drive to encourage opening of these accounts was to offer banking services to the poor for more reliable transfer of government benefits and to enable the less well off to avail credit or loans.
The transactions are in- creasing as the bank agents or business correspondents offer more products and services such as linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts, insurance registration and balance inquiry. Moreover, government-to-people payments such as direct transfer of cash, has led to increase in transactions. Aadhar linkage and mobile use are key elements in the inclusion scheme.
Banks appoint entities and individuals as agents for providing basic banking services in remote areas where they can’t practically start a branch.
Releasing the agent network report, chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian said while India has made a lot of progress on the financial inclusion front, gaps remain. “You have gas cylinders but you need consistent gas offtake; you have bank accounts but you need to make genuine inclusion; your toilets are built, but are they used? I think that’s the next stage we need to work on....That is why, the banking correspondents story needs more work,” he said.
The report has recommended the need to take steps to increase the share of women agents from the present of only 2%, which could give a fillip to the financial inclusion of women. The report is based on a nationwide representative research that covered 3,048 businesses correspondents.
STORY JUGGI BHASIN