PMJDY has played a crucial role to cover more Indian women under the financial inclusion folder with as many as 47 per cent of them possessing the basic bank account under the scheme, a report study said today.
In 2015, India saw big gains in financial inclusion with the successful implementation of the government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) initiative, Gates Foundation’s search consultancy firm InterMedia said in a report.
More women are financially included now highlighting the narrowing gender divide in financial inclusion, it added.
These significant gains have been driven in large part by growth in bank account access and registration, it said.
“Particularly, the government’s PMJDY program, which focused on ensuring at least one account per household, appears to have been successful in encouraging women to open bank accounts, 47 per cent women now have a PMJDY bank account”, the report said.
“The findings interestingly reveal that more women in India are now financially included than ever before.”
The third annual survey by the Gates Foundation was conducted between June 2015 to October 2015, with a sample size of 45,036 adults.
Also, over the last three rounds in 2013, 2015 and 2015, India witnessed the fastest growth in women’s access across all countries where the Foundation did similar surveys.
The countries include Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
The rise in financial inclusion level was not just limited to women, said the report, adding 66 per cent of all Indian adults now have accounts at financial institutions, setting the base for social sector payment reforms benefiting the very poor.
“Bank account ownership increased from 48 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent in 2015. Active bank account holders also grew from 29 to 42 per cent on account of basic financial activities like deposits, withdrawals and receiving G2P transfers.”
The report also finds that financial inclusion is on the rise for lower-income and rural adults.
The percentage of financially included adults living below the poverty line increased from 50 per cent to 62 per cent and the percentage of financially included rural adults increased from 52 per cent to 63 per cent.
“The findings of this report point to the steady success of the government’s efforts, including the PMJDY, in driving financial inclusion, particularly by bringing women, poor and lower literacy groups into its fold”, said Nathaniel Kretchun, Senior Associate Director at InterMedia and Asia Research Lead for the Financial Inclusion Insights Program.
These segments of society face disproportionately large financial access barriers. Targeted efforts by the government are expected to be a game changer for the country’s most vulnerable communities, helping achieve poverty reduction and gender equity, Kretchun said.