NABARD and Women's World Banking (WWB) join hands to consolidate and expand the PMJDY achievements in Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
“Enabling Financial Inclusion, Empowering Women” -Chairman, NABARD
Women have always been the backbone of the rural economy, actively supporting their families' income, livelihood, and overall well-being. With women comprising approximately 48.5% of the country's population, their role in rural communities is of paramount importance. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been relentlessly working to enhance women's participation in the rural economy and drive financial prosperity through various initiatives.
NABARD's commitment to empowering women in rural areas is exemplified by its impactful programs such as the Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme, providing support to Bank Sakhis, establishment of exclusive women Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Off-Farm Producer Organizations (OFPOs). These initiatives have not only provided financial avenues but have also imparted skill development training to millions of women, enabling rural employment, fostering entrepreneurship, and supporting tribal families under the innovative WADI program through Tribal Development Fund (TDF).
In its pursuit of financial inclusion, NABARD has actively leveraged the Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF) established by the Government of India in 2007-08, marking 15 years of its successful operation. Under FIF, NABARD has launched critical initiatives such as Financial Literacy Awareness Programs (FLAPs), support for Bank Sakhis, establishment of Centers for Financial Literacy (CFLs) etc. These endeavours have been instrumental in bringing the financially excluded population into the formal financial fold.
The transformative Jan Dhan Yojana, the flagship programme of the Government of India, has made significant strides in reducing financial exclusion, with over 50 crore beneficiaries, 55% of whom are women. However, around 18 percent of the Jan Dhan Accounts are inactive. Further, as per the Findex 2021 report of World Bank, 32 percent of women have an inactive account, compared with 23 percent of men. In response to this, NABARD has collaborated with Women's World Banking (WWB), an international non-profit organization. Together, they aim to amplify the impact of the Jan Dhan Yojana by promoting savings, micro-insurance, credit linkage, and driving positive change in women’s economic status. This collaborative initiative seeks to nurture a culture of savings among women through awareness camps while promoting micro-insurance and credit facilities. The initiative will be undertaken across all 43 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) throughout the country for effective implementation.
Additionally, NABARD together with WWB is proactively identifying parameters to establish a Gender Index, which will not only address gender disparities but also serve as a catalyst for social progress. This index will provide a comprehensive framework to measure and improve gender equality, further strengthening NABARD's commitment to empowering women in the rural economy.
With its unwavering dedication, NABARD continues to drive financial inclusion, promote gender equality, and uplift the lives of rural women. By fostering economic empowerment and creating an environment conducive to growth, NABARD is paving the way for a prosperous and equitable rural economy. Chairman, NABARD said that only through enabling financial inclusion we can empower women and narrow the gender gaps effectively.