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Bank accounts: The first step to joining the economic mainstream

Saving Bank accounts geared toward the poor can encourage a habit of saving

Photo of Mansi Parikh
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In August 2014 the Indian government launched the "Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana" or "The Prime Minister's Wealth Plan for the People" 

The idea behind this plan is to bring a majority of the Indian poor into the economic mainstream by encouraging them to have bank accounts which can provide them with some degree of identity and security. It also helps the government reach a larger population for introduction of welfare schemes and easy distribution of subsidies directly to these people. 

The initiative actually set a financial Guinness World record as a total of 18,096,130 confirmed new bank accounts were opened across the country between 23 to 29 August last year through the campaign.

This program could sideline unscrupulous money lenders who operate outside the purview of the system and this will provide significant security to the marginalized and "forgotten" communities.

Such initiatives can give us insight into how we can bring marginalized communities into the mainstream through institutional programs. Tells us about the hardships these folks face and how unprotected they are from the most predatory lending processes. 

Here are some articles with more information on the initiative:


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Photo of Trevor z Hallstein

In the absence of bank accounts and presumably by extension any way to invest and earn market returns on their savings, how/what did this population previously do to save and beyond saving, have their savings increase to provide capital in retirement? How are they provided for / how do they provide for themselves in retirement?

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