Long queues were seen at banks in Agra to open accounts under the new Jan Dhan scheme and the response from the “under-privileged” section of the society was surprising, an officials said Saturday.
P.N. Agarwal, a banking researcher said: “This (Jan Dhan scheme) clearly is a master-stroke, a positive step by the Modi government.”
Rohan Dayee, a dalit woman: “Yes, so what if I am not literate, I will have a bank account and ‘beema’ (insurance) also.” Her college going granddaughter Sarita clutching her mobile firmly echoed her sentiment as she moved ahead in the queue.
“Our traditional banking system was low-cost, reached every nook and corner of India and fulfilled the needs of all. The ownership of the system was not concentrated in few hands but spread over hundreds and thousands of moneylenders, merchants and jewellers. Both the banker and the borrower knew each other well having lived together for generations,” Agarwal told IANS.
But the modern banking frittered away the advantages. “Our leaders chose a very leaky socialist model. Banking suffered serious setbacks one after the other,” Agarwal said.
The Jan Dhan scheme opens new frontiers and poses challenges too. But “if we sensibly leverage technology and use multi-platforms to reach and bring the under-privileged to the mainstream of the financial system, it will unleash tremendous aspirations that could see India catapulting growth,” Agarwal said.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stress on empowering women particularly through bank accounts, is a step in right direction and will yield good results,” said retired bank manager Narendra Singh.