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Meaningful Financial Inclusion
Presently, of the 246.7 million households in the country, only 144.8 million have access to banking. This means, 75 million households or 40 per cent still do not have access to basic banking services. The newly-launched Jan Dhan scheme seeks to plug the gap by providing two accounts each for these 75 million households by August 2018. This ambitious plan may achieve the targeted numbers but it needs to overcome a major problem that has been persistent with all financial inclusion initiatives till now, wherein a majority of the accounts opened has remained inactive with zero balance. Will the new Financial Inclusion scheme cover the distance that the other financial inclusion efforts have missed? Moreover, can a bank account help the poor beat the vicious cycle of poverty? What are the issues plaguing the Financial Inclusion efforts and how can these areas of concern be addressed? How do we make the transition from dormant Financial Inclusion to Meaningful Financial Inclusion? This paper attempts to answer these questions through a field survey in Wayanad district of Kerala.
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