For 60 years, banks have been using the excuse of lack of branch penetration for all round poor performance on priority sector lending, lending at differential rate of interest and self-help-group linkages, even as poor remain largely unbanked.
With the master-stroke of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) unleashed with an unmatched fervor by Modiji, come January 2015, this excuse will no longer be tenable and banks would have to get down to the job of development banking.
While many have criticised the speed at which this scheme is being implemented or the provision of an overdraft facility, little do they realise that the poor of India are no longer going to wait endlessly.
When Skoch Group organised the third edition of its financial literacy programme at Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest expectation that was voiced by the 1,316 women trained was credit and livelihood linkage. They were desperate for any kind of employment opportunities.
The five-day programme called Samavesh held from November 25th-29th covered basics of banking, account opening, KYC, overdraft facility, insurance, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), SHG formation, micro-credit, and micro-investments amongst others. Livelihood linkages with focus on locally relevant vocations like mushroom cultivation; papad making,mehndi and bio-products were highlighted.
Appreciating the Skoch Group’s initiative on financial literacy, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi said she would push forward the livelihood linkages. “The bigger challenge is employment. I am supporting several initiatives on employment generation,” Gandhi said while addressing the closing ceremony of the five-day event.
This training programme of Skoch Group was third in its series. The previous two were held in Uttarakhand in 2012 and Gujarat in February 2014. Master Trainers from National Stock Exchange (NSE), Canara Bank and YES BANK, besides classroom training, interactive cartoons and audio-visuals, used other pedagogical innovations like games and street plays to get the message across. Each participant received a participation certificate.