Women’s World Banking and Bank of Baroda report recommends - Jan Dhan Plus

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News Desk, News Nation 360: Women’s World Banking, a global non-profit committed to giving low-income women access to financial tools for their financial security and prosperity, and Bank of Baroda, among India’s largest Public Sector Banks (PSBs) today unveiled a new report ‘The Power of Jan Dhan: Making Finance Work for Women in India’. The report estimates that by serving 100 million low-income women, Public Sector Banks in India could attract approximately Rs. 25,000 crores (250 billion) in deposits while financially empowering 40 crores (400 million) low-income Indians. According to the Global Findex Report 2017, 77% of women and 83% of men in India own an account, and the gender gap between make and female account ownership has dropped to 6% (from 20% in 2014). Today, 23.73 crores (237.3 million) women  have  Jan  Dhan accounts. However, the report

makes the distinction that having access to a bank account does not mean it is being used, which is a critical determinant of full financial inclusion. Women’s World Banking and Bank of Baroda designed a pilot product specifically to encourage greater account usage among women Jan Dhan customers. Jan Dhan Plus is a solution that combines a Jan Dhan account with an incentive to deposit Rs. 500 over four months. In return that account holder receives an Rs. 10,000 credit/overdraft facility. This has several benefits – women account holders engage more with banks and build skills and trust, while the bank learns more about an important customer base and how to address it with products and services. The women and their households not only develop a body of savings to support them in times of economic hardship, such as Covid-19, but they also have access to an overdraft facility, providing both an emergency fund and a credit footprint for them to potentially access loans and other services in the future. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Government of India expressed that it is heartening to witness the collaboration between Women’s World Banking and Bank of Baroda whose innovative Jan Dhan Plus package showcases an opportunity to bring more low-income women customers into formal banking, and highlight their potential as valuable customer segment for banks and financial service providers. He invites more banks to engage women Jan Dhan customers and share their success. He also would like to invite organisations working in this area to collaborate with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, a NITI Aayog initiative with the aim to overcome information asymmetry, showcase such initiatives and enable women to avail of their benefits. Sanjiv Chadha, Managing Director & CEO, Bank of Baroda stated that Jan Dhan Plus, created in collaboration with Women’s World Banking, showed them that with the right encouragement and environment, women strive faster for financial independence and resilience. Such a meaningful engagement between women and financial institutions can increase the latter’s social capital and contribution towards building a more stable nation. They hold the key to not only empowering millions of households in India, but their long-term formal savings habit can create tremendous value for the banking sector.

Report : Anustup Kundu