In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the “Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana” (Prime Minister’s People’s Wealth Scheme, or PMJDY) to 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 exceedingly surpassed these estimates.
The initiative’s results are clear: Many more Indians now have bank accounts. Financial Inclusion Insights show that two-thirds of adults (65%) are financially included, with over six in ten (63%) having bank accounts. The country remains one of the largest and poorest in the world, ranking 160th in per-capita GDP, with nearly four in five citizens (78%) living below the $2.50/day poverty line. Now, however, consumers have access to insurance and can receive government benefits delivered to a debit card rather than less-secure means. Growing financial inclusion will open up services to poor, rural and other disadvantaged groups, population segments that have not always had easy access to financial services in the past.