300 million bank accounts opened with zero balance

New York: Hailing the initiatives taken by the Indian Government, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said that under the Jan Dhan plan, bank account of at least 300 million Indians with zero balance were opened under the scheme.

Terming the Jan Dhan plan ‘as the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme’, Sushma said that those, who did not have any money, had their bank accounts opened with zero balance, which would not have happened anywhere in world.

“This impossible has been made possible in India. At least 300 million Indians, it’s not a small amount. This is the total population of USA. At least 300 million Indians who had never crossed the doors of a bank today have bank accounts: this is equivalent to the population of the United States of America,” Swaraj said while speaking at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

She said that it was not easy to implement this plan in three years, but the Indian banks achieved the visionary goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Swaraj praised the demonetisation decision of the Indian Government and said that it was a courageous decision to challenge one of the by-products of corruption, the “black money” that disappeared from circulation.

She even mentioned about the rolling of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) through which there is one-tax across the country.

“Our ‘Save the girl, educate the girl’ campaign is reducing gender inequality. Our Clean India program is generating what can only be described as a revolutionary change in social attitudes and habits,” she said.

“I am pleased that India has displayed the courage and leadership to take tough decisions which have launched the interlinked process of sustainable development,” she added.

The Minister said that complete eradication of poverty is the most important priority of the present government.

“There are two ways of addressing the curse of poverty. The traditional method is through incremental levels of aid and hand-holding. But our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen the more radical route, through economic empowerment. The poor are not helpless; we have merely denied them opportunity. We are eliminating poverty by investing in the poor. We are turning them from job-seekers into job-providers,” she said.

She said that the Mudra Yojana has enabled the ruling Indian Government to fund the unfunded and informed that over 70 per cent of these loans have gone to women.

Through Skill India, Start-Up India and Stand-Up India poor and middle class youth are being trained to match their honed talent with bank credit and become self-employed or small-scale entrepreneurs, she said.

“Ujjwala is a signature scheme of our government for poor women. Free gas cylinders are being provided to the poor so that women do not have to suffer the dangerous consequences of wood-fired kitchens. Uniquely, gender emancipation is at the creative core of this programme,” she added. (ANI)

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