Empty accounts continue to plague India’s financial inclusion plan
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
More than half of a record 160 million accounts opened in India as part of a drive to offer banking to all are still empty, illustrating the massive task ahead for one of the government’s most high-profile campaigns and the strain on banks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scheme last August to end “financial untouchability”, an ambitious project to enable tens of millions to have access to a bank. The scheme offers free insurance and even an overdraft facility and aims to eventually help deliver all subsidies and other social benefits to the poor directly.
But while millions signed up – the volume of accounts made a Guinness World Record and Modi hit his target – 53 per cent of these accounts have never been used as of June 3, records show.
Activating these accounts will be the biggest test yet for Modi’s banking drive: a push the government hopes will curb the use of cash, limit corruption and rein in the informal economy.