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Financial illiteracy

Project Khushhali

The Times of India, December 13, 2016

Project Khushhali in Basaudi, Sonipat in Haryana to address financial illiteracy; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 13, 2016

Manash Gohain 

Basaudi, 50 km from Delhi, is a small village in Haryana's Sonipat district with perhaps around 2,000 residents. Just around 40% of the families there had bank accounts until Shri Ram College of Commerce ventured out to change that statistic. On the first day of their financial literacy programme, called Khushhali, the students of the Delhi University college convinced 157 people to open bank accounts.

Members of Vittshala, the college financial literacy cell, the students themselves underwent training with State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation for the project, which will be carried out in two phases, the first from December 11 to December 15, and then a follow-up a month later.

With the main objective being to win over the villagers to a cashless way of life, the beginning was made through a street play called Baat Bachat Ki. “This was followed by discussions and distribution of educational pamphlets and posters on demonetisation, Jan Dhan accounts and the screening of a video film on cashless transactions, inclu ding use of e-wallet,“ said professor Anil Kumar, the brain behind the campaign.

Six four-member teams will go from door to door to assist villagers in opening Jan Dhan accounts. On Sunday , Sonipat city magistrate Surendra Singh attended the event. From Tuesday , Ajay Kumar, the Haryana government nodal officer for digital economy for the area, is expected to be present.

To ensure that the newly won over villagers do not feel the lack of a bank branch there, SBI has posted a mobile van equipped with ATM, forms and printers there, with officials ready to help in the opening of bank accounts.“The nearest bank branch is 6 km away , so SBI has placed a mobile ATM for the cashless advocacy programme,“ said Kumar. “However, we will discuss the need of starting a branch in the area so that the project does not prove to be futile.“

So far, volunteers reported, most villagers, especially the women, have shown an interest in the Sukanya Samriddhi policy , a small deposit savings scheme meant for the girl child.

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