PANAJI/MARGAO: Launching the central government’s all-inclusive Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme on Thursday in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that a bank account for every individual in Goa can easily be achieved by the end of September, this year.
The all-India timeframe for the scheme is January 26, 2015, but Parrikar advanced the target by a few months even as he said that banks should start preparing for the second phase of the scheme by October.
The Phase-II envisages pension benefits in addition to benefits like a ‘Rupay’ debit card, life insurance cover of `30,000, accident insurance cover of ` 1 lakh along with savings account facilities like mobile banking, zero balance, etc under Phase-I.
Goa’s small size and the fact that a large number of individuals already have bank accounts for availing direct cash transfer means that the financial inclusion scheme is very much feasible, said Parrikar.
The state, he pointed out, is the first in India to have 100 per cent cash transfer through bank because of ongoing schemes such as DSS, Ladli Laxmi, Griha Shobha among others.
About 500 camps, organised by banks, are currently underway in different parts of Goa for implementation of the ambitious project that envisages savings account for the poor. The launch, with timing synchronised throughout the country, was at 4 p.m. in Taleigao community hall. The Chief Minister handed bank kits to a couple of residents opening accounts.
Union Minister for Tourism and Culture (independent charge) Shripad Naik, who was also present, said the scheme’s launch within days of its announcement was for the first time in history by any government.
Opening of bank accounts would also lead to saving habit among the poor, he said.
The scheme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech in New Delhi.
A battery of lead bank officials of State Bank of India was part of the launch function and they included Sudhir Dubey, chief general manager; S K Mishra, deputy general manager and Hardayal Prasad, general manager.
State finance secretary P Krishnamurthy was also present during the launch.
The Jan Dhan Yojana is expected to be a game-changer to the common man as every person will have access to a bank.
Goa has 3.5 lakh households and 22 lakh saving account holders and the banking habit is deeply ingrained. However, not all residents have accounts and the coverage is currently stands at 60 per cent, Parrikar said.
The bank network in the state is 738 branches.
A programme over the scheme launch was held at the Loyola School Hall, Margao.
South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar, the district collector and several officials attended the programme.
Sawaikar said he would work to provide bank accounts to all the people of South Goa by January 2015 so as to avail the benefits of the scheme.