One of the major aims of Narendra Modi’s administration has been the modernization of the country. The national government has also been making some efforts in that regard. It has recently added to that glorious list with the Indian Prime Minister asking all the banks in the country to make sure that everyone in the country had a bank account to boot. As far as making India and Indians accountable from a financial point of view is concerned, this is a rather good move.
Modi writes to all bank managers to open accounts for everyone
The Prime Minister of India has observed that there is a huge disparity when it comes to the number of people in India who have bank accounts as opposed to those who do not have that. He has also stated, and rightly so, that this is a major problem by virtue of the fact that it acts as a deterrent to most of the developmental projects being undertaken by the government. In an impassioned appeal, Modi has implored the bank officials to make serious and strenuous efforts to ensure that there is no family or household in the country without a bank account.
The Indian Government is set to launch a programme named Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) or National Mission on Financial Inclusion on August 28. Prior to that, the Indian Premier has emailed to all bank officers the message. Modi has stated that as per the plan at least 7 crore households will open their bank accounts. He has deemed this to be a national priority, one that needs the focus and attention of all concerned.
The Indian PM has also revealed that in the first step of this plan all the account holders will be receiving a RuPay debit card that will come with an accident cover of INR 1 lakh. He has also stated that as the plan unfolds further the beneficiaries will be in line for more pension and insurance products. The NDA government has a focussed development motto of all-round development and PMJDY is a main component of the same.
He has stated that even as India hurtles towards the age of knowledge with the very latest in financial systems and banking services it is not acceptable to think of a scenario where majority of the population does not even have rudimentary facilities such as a bank account.
At present the depressed classes in India seem to be stuck in an eternal cycle of being deprived and left out of mainstream life and Modi feels that Jan Dhan Yojana will be the first step to break out of the shackles imposed by the challenges that are being continually faced by these people. It is being assumed that having a bank account will help one get access to the basic credit and banking products and services. He also feels that this will help them in getting out of the iron clutches of the money-lenders and keep financial problems at bay.
UGC goes mum after stirring up controversy
A few days back the University Grants Commission had asked the different institutions dealing in higher education in India like IITs, NITs and Delhi University to provide undergraduate programmes not exceeding the routine 3-year period and only stick to the courses that has received its approval. This had stirred up a fair amount of controversy with IIT Kharagpur and several others stating that since they were not governed by the UGC, it had no business telling them what to do with their programmes. Now UGC has become absolutely silent on the said issue.
Recently the UGC has been facing some problems with Human Resource Development Ministry especially regarding the 4-year programme being offered by Delhi University at the undergraduate level. To start with, the UGC had authorized the programme before the new government decided that it had to go and that may have been the source of all problems. At that time the commission as well as its chairman had to renege on their commitment.
As far as the latest controversy is concerned there is an opinion that the UGC did this deliberately so that the HRD ministry could be drawn into the same. This also means that now that the UGC has chosen to stay silent on the whole issue the ministry has been saddled with the responsibility of answering the questions. The HRD Ministry has, meanwhile, stated that it is not related in any way to the communiqué sent by the UGC, which has stayed within its ambit of authority, to pull this off. It has also said that it had no knowledge beforehand that the UGC will be sending across such a letter to the educational institutions.
The ministry is saying that even though the UGC did not wish to curb the independence enjoyed by the IITs but it still could have handled things far better than how it ultimately did. The HRD Ministry says that the UGC could have specifically addressed institutions which it thought were transgressing the boundaries instead of sending letters to one and all. It could also have mentioned programmes, which it thought, were in contravention of its set principles or which had not received its consent.
The HRD Ministry also pointed out that in certain cases like the liberal arts course offered by Symbiosis Pune, the UGC itself had approved a duration of 4 years. As far as the IITs were concerned, the ministry pointed out that all the BSc courses offered in the IITS, with the exception of the one offered at Kanpur, were in proper order.
In the meantime, a committee instituted by the HRD Ministry shall be reviewing the work being done by the UGC, which is also regarded as the premier body for higher education in the country. The committee is set to meet on September 5-6. Hari Gautam, who has previously been a chairperson of the UGC, will be heading the committee. The committee has summoned the Vice-Chancellors of universities across the country, well-known personalities, and educationists for the said meeting that is set to see a fair bit of discussion to come up with viable solutions to the problems, stopping the UGC from functioning even more effectively.