The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is the flagship programme of the Narendra Modi-government which aims to reach 75 million people with bank accounts and subsequently government transfers, insurance, pensions and credit. A key component of the programme is to take the benefits to the poorest of the poor.
As of 2014, about 21% of the world’s entire un-banked adult population live in India and the country has tremendous potential to improve financial inclusion and increase number of financially empowered citizens.
The self help group-bank linkage through state rural livelihood missions have proved to be useful channels for the credit delivery system with a wide acceptance by banks, government departments and NGOs.
However, this writer, who has worked with the Rajasthan State Rural Livelihoods Mission, observed that the programme faced lot of problems in credit appraisal, deposit, disbursement and monitoring, especially in remote areas.
In some parts of the state, bank branches are located far away from the self-help group (SHG) villages, as far as 30 km in some cases. Due to distance it takes almost half-a-day to travel to the bank to deposit money leading to loss of wages of SHG members.
To provide hassle-free deposit services, a pilot project with the assistance of a mobile phone company is being implemented in three blocks i.e. Anandpuri in Banswara; Baap in Jodhpur and Sankra, Jaisalmer, in which SHG members are now regularly depositing money from their mobile phone to SHG account. 1,346 SHGs have been enrolled till date through the pilot and Rs 46 lakh has been transacted.
The National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India has appreciated the pilot project and its outcome.
Based on the success of pilot project, NRLM, MoRD is contemplating to replicate the model in NRLM states. The Rajasthan State Rural Livelihoods Mission is now also planning a pilot project to provide hassle-free withdrawal services through use of mobile wallets.