Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who delivered his second Independence Day speech on Saturday, urged banks to come forth to support the 'Start-up India, Stand Up India' mission and lend to Dalits, tribal and women entrepreneurs.
Each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches must encourage and fund at least one Dalit or Adivasi entrepreneur and at least one woman entrepreneur, he said, adding that India must gain "the number one position in start-ups."
"If each bank branch provides loans to Dalits, women and tribals, then in no time we would have at least 1,25,000 start-ups by women and Dalits," Modi said, adding that all programmes and institutions must benefit the poor who need to be empowered through financial inclusion.
Last year, Modi had announced the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) on the Independence Day. There are 17.45 crore accounts under the scheme with a total deposit of Rs 20769.33 crore, under the programme which was kicked off on August 28.
The finance ministry, which has also launched a seven-point reform programme, has underlined the need to expand the scope of the financial inclusion programme. Inactive savings accounts with zero balance under the PMJDY have declined from 76% in September 2014 to 46.93% in July 2015, a recent statement from the finance ministry said.
The government is regularly monitoring and following up with branches having more than 70% zero balance accounts by banks, the statement said.
As many as 15.26 crore beneficiaries have been issued RuPay cards. These beneficiaries would be eligible to get a benefit of personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 lakh under the PMJDY.