The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) will find going tough in PM Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, according to a survey done by the InterMedia India, a Washington-based consulting firm, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The survey indicated that Gujarat, along with other states like Bihar, Orissa and the North Eastern states, is considerably behind in owning a bank or a mobile money account. It also lags in the percentage of adults below poverty line holding accounts, with only 13 percent having active digital accounts and eight percent of rural women owning active accounts.
On the overall ranking on percentage of adults who accessed a bank account ever , the North Eastern states and Orissa lag the most with 30 and 33 percent, respectively.
Gujarat stands out of the top 10 states, with 45 percent of the adults in the sample having a bank account. Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal also come in the bottom half. Uttar Pradesh, however, figures in the top 10 on this indicator.
Goa has been the top performer in financial inclusion across almost all parameters in the survey. States such as Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have done significantly in terms of enrolling more people into the formal banking system.
Bankers, however, seem upbeat about the Jan Dhan Yojana. As against covering villages with population of over 2,000 in previous initiatives, the new scheme focusses on covering households across the country, said a top bank official.
While there is a big gap in the states’ performance on financial inclusion, a senior finance ministry official said, “The new scheme has been structured to provide incentive and while it will help bridge the gap between states it will push overall financial inclusion especially to those in the lowest strata.”
The InterMedia survey, done with a sample size of 45,024 individuals aged above 15, was conducted over the four-month period between October 2013 and January 2014.
While the survey also tracked the success of government’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes, the survey found that 35 percent of all beneficiaries receive direct payment, whereas a high percentage almost 45 percent have to personally collect the money.
In several cases individuals have to even resort to bribing in order to get their payments. Almost 13 percent (nationally) admitted that they have to pay bribe for getting their payments. Karnataka and Kerala top the list of states where most instances of bribing have been noticed. The percentage of respondents that paid bribe stood at 32 percent for Karnataka and 25 percent for Kerala.