"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." This famous quote of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who himself turned his dream into a reality as a nuclear scientist and has "ignited" many minds with his ideas, is perhaps the most appropriate theme for present day India aspiring to become an economic and knowledge superpower.It is the culmination of the dreams of 1.2 billion people that has led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ideate his plan of making the $2 trillion economy a $20 trillion behemoth within the next two decades, eradicating poverty and making India a knowledge society.
The new government has started an ambitious financial inclusion plan that aims to bring every household under the banking net by 26th January 2015. Financial inclusion has been a buzzword for quite some time.
The benefits of RuPay Debit cards, insurance and overdraft facilities associated with accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) will also be applicable for Cooperative Banks accounts opened under the scheme, according to top Finance Ministry officials.
The government-run Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) that controls more than two-thirds of the life insurance business in the country, has shown unwillingness to bear the cost of the proposed Rs 30,000 life cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
Ever since we started our initiatives on financial inclusion, it was crystal clear that financial inclusion without poverty alleviation is a meaningless exercise. If that be the case, the next question is how to attain the goal at the earliest and at the lowest possible cost. Here, I must say that the three things-social inclusion, financial inclusion and digital inclusion-are inter-linked, and if one is missing, the other two cannot happen. Incidentally, most of the flaws that I pointed out in my book titled Speeding Financial Inclusion (2009), eventually came true during the course of implementation of the financial inclusion initiative including the Swabhimaan scheme in 2011. Some of the mistakes are being repeated as the Jan Dhan is being rolled out.