The State Government can’t stop just at opening PMJDY accounts, as its stronger linkage with the banking ecosystem is a must to make it a sustainable programme, Shree Kant Singh, Principal Secretary & Development Commissioner, Department of Planning, Government of Maharashtra, tells Sneha Mejari of Elets News Network (ENN).
Share with us your vision for taking the financial inclusion mission across the State?
Our vision is to ensure that no eligible citizen is excluded from the development ecosystem. The State administration and the banks are geared up to work in close coordination to ensure that every beneficiary of financial benefits and entitlements is included under the financial inclusion schemes. The State has been aggressive in opening of accounts under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). These would include RuPay Debit Cards, e-KYC based account opening, Aadhaar seeding and progress in the survey made in the rural as well as urban areas.
How have been the efforts towards PMJDY execution in the State?
The State Government has always been taking aggressive steps towards financial empowerment of its citizens. These efforts got channelised under PMJDY and we are much ahead in terms of progress made in this direction. Bank accounts for every beneficiary will empower not only citizens, but also the State to direct the benefits of government schemes to the right person. It will also eliminate pilferage. We have currently opened additional approximately 74 lakh accounts and look forward to cooperation from the bankers’ community. The work of opening accounts of uncovered families would continue with the same zeal. I am glad to share that the State of Maharashtra could be declared a saturated State as far as opening of accounts under PMJDY is concerned. This has been possible by the hard work of bankers, the lead district managers and the State Mission Director for the achievement under PMJDY in Maharashtra.
How do you see the use of technology in addressing the challenges of geographical expanse and reach of banking services in the State? Also tell us about the role of Aadhaar in this regard.
Technology is now engrained in every aspect of BFSI services and has become all-pervasive in our lives. Today, we hardly go to bank branches, as we prefer doing most of our banking-related work either online or on mobile. This trend is going to further escalate in the future. Aadhaar has emerged as an easy tool for eKYC that is now been widely accepted by the banks and as ID proof to avail various services. Maharashtra is again a leader in the number of enrolments and seeding of Aadhaar numbers with the bank accounts of beneficiaries. So, I envision that Aadhaar and financial inclusion efforts will go hand-in-hand, as they complement each other to achieve the goal, bringing about transparency and accountability in the government initiatives.
As a strategic move, we had launched our first online product in May 2012, as today’s young and tech savvy executives are looking for easy access to make purchases online
What, according to you, is the way forward for financial inclusion drive in Maharashtra?
We are also exploring ways to extend the facility of credit to the needy in the remotest villages in the State. We are aware that our efforts cannot stop just after opening the accounts, as the critical step of linkage with the banking ecosystem is a must to ensure sustainability of the programme. There still remains a long road ahead on issuance of RuPay Card and sensitisation of customers in respect of its activation and usage. In the meantime, the banks would continue to open accounts of leftover families, who have emerged in the survey as being excluded.