The main aim of the government was to ensure “saturation” or coverage of eligible households under all these schemes.
New Delhi: Alarmed at the poor feedback and slow progress of the three main financial inclusion schemes under the Narendra Modi government’s Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (GSA) — namely Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana — the Centre has directed state-run banks and insurance companies to deploy their top level executives to visit and ensure the targets under these schemes, especially in the 117 aspirational districts across the country in campaign mode, must be achieved.
The Centre’s urgency towards ensuring greater penetration of these schemes in rural India stems from the fact that Lok Sabha polls are just months away and a tepid response to its ambitious schemes among rural poor could prove counterproductive for the NDA’s bid to return to power in 2019.
The three major financial inclusion schemes are part of the total seven schemes which the Modi regime has included under GSA. The other four schemes are Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme and Mission Indradhanush.
According to highly-placed sources, the finance ministry has pointedly conveyed to the heads of all state-owned banks and insurance companies that the progress of the three schemes under GSA, mainly in the 117 aspirational districts, is slow and target achievement in most of the states is poor.
All the financial institutions have been directed by the North Block to send their zonal and regional heads and even banking correspondents (who provide banking facilities in remote villages having no access to banks) on field visits to villages falling under the aspirational districts and ensure targets are achieved.
With the aim of wooing and strengthening the rural votebank, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched GSA on April 13 this year in 21,058 villages of the country on the eve of Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14), under which all departments were asked to ensure maximum inclusion of rural poor in the seven major flagship schemes.
The main aim of the government was to ensure “saturation” or coverage of eligible households under all these schemes. While GSA was to culminate on May 5, its second leg was announced from June 1 to August 15, in which the 117 aspirational districts were also included.
In fact wherever there is shortage of staff, those particular branches have been asked to hire additional manpower on temporary basis from other branches and ensure that targets of the three main financial inclusion schemes are met urgently and these are promoted well, sources added.
Sources further informed this newspaper that officials during their field visits to villages of the 117 aspirational districts have also been asked to point out any lacunae in the action plan and suggest any corrective measures which may help in fulfilling the targets under the aforementioned schemes.
The government has been aggressively highlighting the benefits of the seven flagship schemes within all the targetted villages with the help of the local panchayat heads, and has been holding meetings with them to ensure greater involvement of people in them.