Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said the concept of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was not new and it was former prime minister Indira Gandhi who had given the poor access to banking by nationalising banks in 1969.
Participating in the State-level launch of the scheme at the Banquet Hall in the Vidhana Soudha, Siddaramaiah said equality in society could be achieved only by improving the financial status of the poor and by providing equal opportunities to all. While PMJDY was a good scheme, nationalisation of banks initiated by Indira Gandhi played a major role in moving towards financial inclusion of all, he said.
Siddaramaiah urged banks to relax the conditions while opening accounts for the poor and slum dwellers. He said banks should respond efficiently in implementing the policies of the State government.
He said it was a matter of pride that several major banks, including the Corporation Bank, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and Vijaya Bank had originated in Karnataka. Banks should give priority to the poor, who promptly repay loans, and loans given to rich entrepreneurs many a time have been declared non-performing assets, Siddaramaiah said.
Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers H N Ananth Kumar said PMJDY was aimed at achieving financial inclusion by providing affordable financial services to all the citizens. While 52 per cent of the citizens have access to institutional credit facility, the aim was to enhance it to 100 per cent. Every household should have at least one basic saving bank deposit account, he added.
According to bank officials, as many as 11 lakh new accounts under the scheme had been opened in the State since August 16.
Those who had opened accounts would be given a debit card, that includes accident insurance cover of Rs one lakh. An overdraft of Rs 5,000 would be permitted to Aadhaar-enabled accounts, they said.
Siddaramaiah also gave away kits containing a passbook and a debit card to some new account holders.
The audience also watched the live telecast of the national launch of the programme in New Delhi and the address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.