HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

PM writes to bankers, says opening accounts for all ‘national priority’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 26, 2014
First Published: 00:16 IST(26/8/2014) | Last Updated: 10:46 IST(27/8/2014)

Placing bank accounts for all at the core of financial inclusion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sent personal emails to all bank officers, urging them to open new accounts as a “national priority”.

“We need to enroll over 7 crore households and open their accounts. This is a national priority and we must rise to meet this challenge,” Modi wrote, adding that all other development activities are hindered by this “single disability” of the lack of bank accounts.

The emails were a follow-up of his Independence Day speech where he announced Jan-Dhan Yojna to enroll all poor people into the banking system. But in a clear show of urgency, the PM himself wrote the emails.

As several flagship schemes like the NREGA or Direct Benefits have suffered due to the lack of bank account of beneficiaries, Modi said it is “untenable” that a large majority of citizens stay deprived of basic banking facilities.

“I wonder whether we made matters so complicated that the poor and the marginalied are those who are trapped in a perpetual cycle of exclusion and deprivation. We need to break that cycle and the Jan Dhan Yojana is the first step in that direction,” Modi said.

As a first step, under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, every account holder gets a RuPay debit card with a `1 lakh accident cover. “As we go along, they will be covered by insurance and pension products,” he said.

The banking scheme will be launched pan-India on August 28.

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