In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the “Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana” (PMJDY) scheme to combat black money in the economy and provide 75 million unbanked Indians with zero-balance bank accounts— delivering access to a full range of financial services, including pension, credit and insurance. The actual accounts numbers have exceeded these estimates. Between 2014 and 2017, financial inclusion has grown from 54% to 78%.
Bank accounts have become the main driver of financial inclusion, with four in five (78%) adults having a bank account. In addition to PMJDY, the Indian government has enacted initiatives to expand quality and delivery of digital financial services (DFS) through Aadhaar biometric identification. Aadhaar cards are being linked with mobile phones, SIM cards and financial service accounts in order to improve delivery of government schemes and benefits. These initiatives have helped to grow the financial inclusion market in India and encourage previously underbanked populations such as women, rural and below poverty individuals to access formal financial institutions.