Unveiling a multi-pronged plan of financial inclusion, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set milestones over the next 20 years to transform the lives of poor. He asked the Indian banking sector to start lending funds to underprivileged farmers, students and people running small businesses to financially empower the have-nots.
Speaking at a conference on financial inclusion organized to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, Mr Modi said: “Our poor students need bank loans to pursue quality higher/technical education and training to be skilled. Lending them can be the biggest financial inclusion.”
“I can assure that you will not see the current Non Performing Asset (NPA) level as these hardworking people will surely return your money. You must come out with innovative financial inclusion instruments to ensure that the farmer does not commit suicide due to lack of bank funding,” the prime minister said during the conference.
He mentioned over 50 million engaged in small-scale businesses needed at an average of Rs 17,000 to help grow their businesses and income, and banks should be lending them. He also said the government was considering launching MUDRA bank to tackle the issue.
While emphasising on the need to provide the poor with all sort of banking services, Mr Modi said, “I have come here to ask for something as a representative of the poor, marginalized and tribals; I grew up as a poor and I know what it means. I seek help on their behalf and trust you will not disappoint me.”
While pointing out the need to expand banking services all across the country, the prime minister cited an example of Eastern India, and said that despite blessed with vast natural resources, the region has been greatly neglected by the banking sector for the most part. The time has come for the banks to expand in that region and unlock its immense economic potential, the prime minister said.
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