FM Nirmala Sitharaman's Financial Inclusion Steps at Paris Summit
FM Nirmala Sitharaman's Financial Inclusion Steps at Paris Summit

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her address at the New Global Financing Pact summit in Paris, outlined several crucial measures undertaken by the Central government to promote financial inclusion.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has played a pivotal role in ensuring that the majority of benefits reach the bank accounts of citizens. Through the implementation of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), the government achieved remarkable cost savings of Rs one lakh crore in a single province in India. Sitharaman emphasized that DPI has enabled the optimal utilization of taxpayers' money.

The 'Stand-up India' scheme has been instrumental in empowering women not only in major cities but also in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Women entrepreneurs are granted collateral-free loans at concessional rates, empowering them to stand on their own feet.

The focus on startups extends beyond urban areas, as highlighted by Sitharaman. Women street vendors and small-scale merchants are now eligible for collateral-free loans, fostering their growth and participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Finance Minister also announced that all public sector banks in India have been mandated to provide loans at concessional rates without any collateral to at least one woman per bank branch, promoting gender inclusivity and financial empowerment.

In addition, maternity leave has been extended to 26 weeks, offering better support to working mothers. Sitharaman also shared that women self-help groups in villages now have the ability to procure locally produced grains, construct silos, and enhance storage capacities with the assistance of viability gap funding. Furthermore, the establishment of a national agriculture market provides women farmers with improved access to better markets for their agricultural produce.

By implementing these comprehensive financial inclusion measures, the Indian government is working towards empowering women, fostering entrepreneurship, and ensuring equitable economic growth for all.

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