Prepare a 20 Year Roadmap, Set Target for 100 Years: Modi to RBI

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MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday to prepare a 20-year roadmap on financial inclusion to mark its 100th anniversary in 2035, and said geographical inclusion must also be addressed to bridge the east-west divide.

“Why don’t you have a target for 100 years – to reach banking services and beyond to each and every household?” the Prime Minister posed at an event here to mark 80 years of India’s central bank, which was established on April 1, 1935. “Eighty years is an important event for us in India,” he said, adding that it marks the witnessing of 1,000 full moons during that time. “I’m sure when you celebrate your 100th anniversary 20 years from now, you would not have disappointed the country.”

He said the other milestones for financial inclusion could be the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019, the 75th year of Indian Independence in 2022, and the RBI’s own 90th anniversary in 2025. With Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajam at the dais, the prime minister also spoke about how the poor can actually give back with financial inclusion.

“Out of the 14 crore bank accounts opened under the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Scheme, 41 percent did not open it for free,” the prime minister said, adding that as much as Rs.14,000 crore was collected from such accounts. “Banks must have seen the poverty of the rich, but you have not seen the richness of the poor,” he said, alluding to the beeline that the corporate sector makes to banks, even as the poor, who need credit the most, are deprived.
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