World Bank praises India’s Aadhaar push

• The World Bank said India’s “strong government” push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards helped narrow both the gender gap and the gap between the rich and poor.

=> Other statistics

• India has significantly reduced the gender gap in providing access to financial services with 77% women against 83% men having bank accounts, the World Bank said in its Global Findex database 2017.

• According to government data, the total number of current and savings accounts in banks has risen from 122.3 crore in March 2015 to 157.1 crore in March 2017.

• Globally, 65% of women have an account compared with 72% of men, a gap of seven percentage points that has been unchanged since 2011, the World Bank report said.

• Between 2014 and 2017, account ownership in India rose by more than 30 percentage points among women as well as among adults in the poorest 40% of households.

• Among men and among adults in the wealthiest 60% of households, it increased by about 20 percentage points, the report said.

• The leakage of funds for pension payments dropped by 47% (2.8 percentage points) when the payments were made through biometric smart cards rather than being handed out in cash.

• However, the World Bank noted that India has 190 million adults without a bank account despite the success of the ambitious Jan Dhan Yojana, making it the world’s second largest unbanked population after that of China (225 million).

=> Digital initiative benefits

• India on how switching from cash to digital payments can reduce corruption and improve efficiency, the bank said in India, the leakage of funds for pension payments dropped by 47% (2.8 percentage points) when the payments were made through biometric smart cards rather than being handed out in cash.

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