Bhubaneswar : Women’s World Banking, a global non-profit committed to giving low-income women access to financial tools for their financial security and prosperity, and Bank of Baroda, among India’s largest Public Sector Banks (PSBs) today unveiled a new report ‘The Power of Jan Dhan: Making Finance Work for Women in India’. The report estimates that by serving 100 million low-income women, Public Sector Banks in India could attract approximately Rs. 25,000 crores (250 billion) in deposits while financially empowering 40 crore (400 million) low-income Indians.
The report highlights the importance of savings as a powerful tool to help low income women, and their households, build financial resilience. Providing in-depth insights into the savings behaviour and financial inclusion barriers of women, the report also provides recommendations to PSBs and policymakers to successfully empower the account holders of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme launched in 2014.
Women’s World Banking and Bank of Baroda designed a pilot product specifically to encourage greater account usage among women Jan Dhan customers. Jan Dhan Plus is a solution that combines a Jan Dhan account with an incentive to deposit Rs. 500 over four months. In return that account holder receives a Rs. 10,000 credit/overdraft facility. This has several benefits – women account holders engage more with banks and build skills and trust, while the bank learns more about an important customer base and how to address it with products and services. The women and their households not only develop a body of savings to support them in times of economic hardship, such as Covid-19, but they also have access to an overdraft facility, providing both an emergency fund, and a credit footprint for them to potentially access loans and other services in the future.
The pilot was conducted with 101 Bank of Baroda branches across Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai and over 300 Business Correspondent points between February 2020 to August 2020. During this period, nearly 50,000 men and women customers signed up for Jan Dhan Plus. 32% of women who visited the Business Correspondent points enrolled in the scheme within the first two months of the launch.