The report, The Power of Jan Dhan: Making Finance Work for Women in India, was launched by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog who invited stakeholders to collaborate with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, a NITI Aayog initiative with the aim to overcome information asymmetry, showcase such initiatives and enable women to avail of their benefits.
“Women’s financial inclusion requires a more gender-inclusive financial system that addresses the specific demand and supply side barriers women face and leverages a partnership-led approach to address existing gaps,” he said.
The report has also suggested creating relevant and simplified products for women, promoting awareness and nudging customers to save at the Business correspondent touch points, strengthen the Business Correspondents network and to monitor and understand the differences in women customers.
“Jan Dhan Plus, created in collaboration with Women’s World Banking, showed us that with the right encouragement and environment, women strive faster for financial independence and resilience,” said Sanjiv Chadha, managing director & CEO, Bank of Baroda.
For the small savings scheme, Jan Dhan Plus, the minimum deposit size was Rs 500. At a Business Correspondent point, a customer could deposit a maximum up to Rs 30,000 at a time. The average amount per deposit at the Banking Correspondent point was Rs 3,000.
The report pointed out that despite COVID impacting the pilot, which was conducted with 101 Bank of Baroda branches across Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, 18% of participants managed to save and completed four account deposits of Rs 500.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated income gaps and disproportionately affected women, particularly low-income women. Enabling them to view formal savings as a viable financial tool is important to help restore their financial resilience,” said Sriraman Jagannathan, Executive Vice President, Asia, Women’s World Banking. “Women’s engagement with financial institutions and their ability to access credit from such institutions can also increase their social capital,” he added.