‘I did not dare to set foot in a bank earlier for fear of being pushed out’

  • Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times, new delhi
  • Updated: Sep 05, 2014 23:30 IST

Kohinoor Khatun, 32, a migrant from West Bengal, has been working in a plush South Delhi home for the last three years. Khatun has applied for a zero balance bank account under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) to park her monthly salary of Rs 9,000.

She had failed in her previous attempt at opening a bank account as she didn’t have any document. Feeling intimidated by the procedures, she hadn’t tried again. But under PMJDY, the documentation procedure and proof of identity (called know your customer or KYC) norms have been simplified. Her voters’ ID card, which has her permanent address at her native village, was enough for opening the account.

She now also has an accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh that comes with the scheme and a life insurance cover of Rs 30,000 for opening her account before January 26, 2015.

Small wonder that over 22.4 million like Khatoon have already opened banks accounts under the scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 28. This is the first step towards bringing them into the financial mainstream and out of the clutches of local moneylenders, and delivering the fruits of development to the most excluded sections of society.

“I did not dare to set foot in a bank for fear of being pushed out,” said another beneficiary.

“How do we help 2.5 billion people escape poverty? Getting them banking services is a start,” Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, had tweeted Wednesday.

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