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USAID, cos to support India's financial inclusion initiative

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The US Agency for International Development along with more than 20 organisations, including Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Citi and MasterCard, would work towards promoting financial inclusion in India.

The partnership seeks to build on the momentum for financial inclusion efforts created by the government's Jan Dhan Yojana, the US Embassy said in a statement today.

The agency along with over 20 US, Indian and international private sector organisations plans to support Indian government's programme "to expand meaningful access to financial services and lay the foundation for a world-leading, inclusive digital economy".

Initial partners are spread across six categories -- Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies (FMCGs), banks, payment networks, mobile network operators, e-commerce, and leading civil society organisations.

"They include Accion, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, Citi, Coca-Cola, FICCI, FIS, HSBC, ICICI Bank, IFC, ITC Ltd, Janalakshmi, Marico, MasterCard, Procter & Gamble, SAP, SEWA, SnapDeal, Telenor, Visa, Vodafone, and Yes Bank," the statement said.

According to the statement, USAID looks forward to working with each to make financial inclusion a long-lasting and sustainable reality in India.

"With support from the World Economic Forum, these partners, in consultation with the Government of India, will join in establishing a public-private partnership to expand the ability of Indian consumers and businesses to participate in the formal economy," it noted.

The statement said that Jan Dhan efforts have caught the attention of the world and showcase India's global leadership in building an inclusive economy.

The partnership builds upon this momentum towards long-lasting financial inclusion, it added.

During his just-concluded visit, American President Barack Obama had commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana.

Citing recent estimates, the statement said that only six per cent of retail establishments in India accept digital payments. "Building a widespread payments acceptance network to meet this challenge requires collective action," it added.

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First Published: Wed, January 28 2015. 18:15 IST