Report: The Opportunity for Inclusion
Intro: The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana to open bank accounts for millions of new depositors is a move to push financial inclusion, as, India still remains a vastly under-banked country.
Like a tree sapling which grows when it gets water, soil and sunlight; financial inclusion automatically happens and poverty reduces when a society has the desired level of finer human emotions like love, compassion, moral courage, the desire to live for a cause, and the courage to protect the weak and fight injustice.
Therefore, if we allow everybody to open a savings bank account, issue ATM cards and provide various loan products, there is no guarantee that it would sustain economic activities. On the other hand, economic activities can happen when self-motivated people in the governance mechanism work honestly and dedicatedly for common good.
The most important thing initially is to muster courage to fight conflict of interest situation. Today banks are neck deep in Non-performing Assets (NPA) because they have not made proper credit appraisal before lending it to the risky sectors. Top bankers failed to overcome conflict of interest situation and made huge loss. The main culprit being the forces who had put pressure on banks to lend without prudence.
Thirty years back, Chittoor district had a healthy water table. Over two decades later, the subsidy linked tube well schemes allowed people to drill the earth more than their requirement. As a result the water table recededand people in Chittoor had to buy water for daily consumption despite being rich in natural resources.
Veteran social activist, Anna Hazare has spent his entire life time to save his villagers from liquor addiction. He not only inculcated good habits among villagers, he also activated the spirit of entrepreneurship among villagers. Today, Ralegaon Sidhi is a sustainable economic model for the entire nation as the villagers here get three crops per year even when the entire Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra faces water scarcity. Anna has implemented water conservation projects in his village with much care and devotion. Villagers here earn and banks come to their village to collect deposits and to distribute banking products. It happens in Ralegaon Sidhi and in places where people volunteer to do social good.
Today, decade old inflation has eroded the much needed voluntary spirit for integral development of society. Voluntary organisations and NGOs which usually work for socio economic development have lost quality due to price rise.
Since, in the present times, food inflation has become an albatross for the finance minister. There is all the more need for an all out war against food inflation as it erodes Aam Aadmi’s surplus-the galloping inflation in food, education, health and housing affect the performance of banking products as banks thrive on people’s surplus. Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and District Central Cooperative banks (DCCBs) that operate in rural areas have to lend 40% of their loans to the priority sector. As a result, a substantial portion of the priority sector advances become NPA. And from time to time Union government recapitalises these banks to protect people’s deposit in banks. Today, India’s handicraft export grows at 16% per annum despite global economic slowdown. And yet, nearly 47.4 lakh Indian artisans are in need of a transparent supply chain to improve their living conditions. Infact, the need is not to shift 121 crore plus people to urban centers to make India a hub for cheap labor force as it happens in China which behaves with its people like cannibals. The 48 crore urban population is enough to work for industry and services sectors.
India does not need to follow Chinese way but has to walk its own unique way like a wise elephant with all its might.
-Sudhansu R Das