July 29, 2014 2:15:28 am
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to unveil a revamped financial inclusion plan on August 15, the finance ministry has begun full preparations for the scheme including a nation-wide
hunt for a logo and tagline for the programme as well as an exhibition for the latest technology.
“In order to ensure wide participation and get innovative and catchy ideas for the name, logo and tagline of the programme, it has been decided to have a competition which is open for all Indian citizens,” said a finance ministry statement, adding that the last date for entries is August 7. The winning submission would receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000, it said.
The contest is an unusual initiative by the finance ministry, which had last used the concept when seeking a design for the Indian currency.
“The idea is that this will engage people’s attention and make them feel a part of the initiative,” said a senior government official.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley is also scheduled to meet heads of public sector banks of July 31 to take stock of their preparedness for the launch of the new financial inclusion scheme, while the department of financial services is organising an exhibition on August 11 to understand the available technologies to provide last mile financial services for bank accounts opening, card issuance and for providing online transaction services.
“The finance minister will be meeting PSU bank chairmen later this week to discuss the new financial inclusion plan that was announced in the Budget,” said a person close to the development.
Jaitley in the Union Budget 2014-15 had announced a time bound mission for financial inclusion. “Two bank accounts in each household are proposed to be opened which will also be eligible for credit,” he had said.
Two bank accounts per household would be provided with an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 as well as a RuPay debit card with a personal accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh in the first phase of the plan. . The accounts would also be linked to direct benefit transfers. In the second phase, starting August 15, 2015 micro-insurance and pension products would also be offered to each household.
Financial services secretary GS Sandhu has already written to the Indian Banks Association (IBA), the apex body of banks, to prepare an immediate time bound action plan under which about 15 crore accounts would be opened and about 50,000 new Business Correspondents would be engaged in rural areas.
Meanwhile, the July 31 meeting, which will be Jaitley’s first such exercise is also expected to focus on credit offtake, interest rates and review gross non-performing assets of banks.
“Annual targets for PSU banks will be fixed while the plan for fund raising will also be discussed,” said the source. The meeting comes at a time when state owned lenders have been asked to work out plans for recapitalisation and mergers and consolidation by the finance ministry.
The Budget has allocated just Rs 11,200 crore for re-capitalisation of state-owned banks, who have been directed to explore alternate means to raise Rs 2.4 lakh crore required for capitalisation under the Basel III norms over the next three years.
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