The World Bank on Thursday praised Indian government’s push to increase account ownership through Aadhaar cards. The bank said that the biometric identification cards have helped the country in bridging the gap between rich and poor, male and female.
In its Global Findex database 2017 that was released recently, the World Bank noted that India has provided access to financial services to 77% women against 83% men having bank accounts, thereby reducing the gender gap.
Talking about global scale, there is still a huge gap as only 65% of women against 72% men have an account. This figure has remained unchanged since the year 2011.
The report stated that three years ago, there were 20% points more chance for men in India to have an account opposed to women but today the figure has shrunk to 6% points. This has been possible through a strong government push to increase the account ownership.
Comparing the data of March 2015 to that of March 2017, the reports revealed that the total number of current and savings accounts in banks has increased from 122.3 Crores to 157.1 Crores. Further, in between 2014 and 2017, the account ownership among women has risen by more than 30% points. Talking about men and other adults, the ownership of accounts has risen in 40% poorest and 60% wealthiest households.
The bank also cited India’s example as to how the country has switched from cash to digital payments in order to reduce corruption and improve efficiency. Moreover, the leakage of funds regarding pension payments also dropped by 47% i.e. 2.8% points due to the usage of smart cards rather than cash.