Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Urges RRBs to Eradicate Duplicate PMJDY Accounts and Promote Financial Inclusion

Nirmala Sitharaman
The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman briefing the media on Post 50th meeting of GST Council, in New Delhi on July 11, 2023.
Nirmala Sitharaman

In a bid to streamline financial inclusion initiatives and optimize resources, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called upon Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) to take proactive measures to eliminate duplicate accounts registered under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). Sitharaman’s directive, delivered during a recent review meeting with RRB leadership, underscores the importance of enhancing the reach of the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) and fostering financial inclusion.

The review session, marked by discussions on strategic roadmaps, outlined the crucial necessity for augmenting the penetration of PMMY, a flagship scheme aimed at facilitating micro-enterprise funding. Sitharaman accentuated the urgency to devise a comprehensive timeline for executing key activities within stipulated timeframes. The objective is to accelerate the completion of designated objectives while maintaining adherence to set timelines.

One of the focal points of the minister’s address was the significance of eradicating duplicate accounts registered under the PMJDY initiative. Sitharaman stressed that this step would lead to more accurate data and better allocation of resources. Furthermore, her statement highlighted the need for RRBs to play a pivotal role in providing storage facilities for apple growers, particularly in the regions of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

During the review meeting, which primarily focused on the Northern Region’s RRBs, Sitharaman articulated the importance of leveraging digital capabilities to upgrade the overall operational efficiency of these banks. In a directive aimed at ensuring the modernization of the RRBs’ onboarding processes, she instructed the Managing Director and CEO of Punjab National Bank (PNB) to oversee the integration of digital onboarding capabilities across all RRBs associated with the bank by November 1, 2023.

As the structure of Regional Rural Banks involves shared ownership, the central government holds a 50 percent stake in these institutions, with sponsor banks and state governments owning 35 percent and 15 percent stakes, respectively. The collaborative nature of RRB ownership underscores the need for effective coordination among various stakeholders to enhance their impact on the ground.

Sitharaman’s call to action reflects a larger drive toward optimizing financial resources and boosting the effectiveness of government-sponsored financial inclusion schemes. By addressing the duplication of accounts under PMJDY and prioritizing the expansion of PMMY, the Finance Minister aims to create a more robust and streamlined framework that caters to the diverse financial needs of rural communities.

The meeting serves as a significant milestone in the government’s commitment to fostering financial inclusion and empowering rural economies. The combination of eradication of duplications, digital upgrades, and enhanced storage facilities not only strengthens the financial infrastructure but also aligns with the broader vision of propelling rural development and economic growth.

As the RRBs chart their course forward based on Sitharaman’s directives, the stage is set for a transformational journey that could redefine the contours of financial inclusion in India. Through strategic collaboration and efficient resource allocation, the finance minister’s vision holds the potential to uplift rural communities and bolster their participation in the broader economic landscape.

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