Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, is one of the leaders who happen to enjoy a special rapport with Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister. Modi is presently in Japan in order to talk on various issues that are of importance to both the countries. Before landing in Tokyo he visited a couple of old Buddhist temples and was accompanied on these visits by the Japanese PM on these visits.
India trying to complete nuclear deal with Japan
The summit talks between India and Japan are expected to take place on September 1. However, prior to that, negotiators from both the countries are meeting and working late in order to create a deal for using nuclear resources for civilian purposes.
It is being assumed that India would ask Japan to look at a deal that is similar to the template of the nuclear deal signed between India and the US. According to this particular model, if India indeed uses the nuclear resources procured from Japan for weaponizing and testing them then both the countries would sit down and discuss various relevant issues for a year before deciding as to whether the said deal would be continued or brought to an end.
However, it is believed that the Japanese are not too much at ease with this formula. It would like a deal where in case India conducts tests the nuclear deal will be off. The main reason of their stand lies in their history – Japan is the only country in history to have been on the receiving end of a nuclear attack. Analysts feel that with such a history it could very well be a miracle if the Japanese were to give their nod to such a nuclear deal as had been signed between India and the US a few years back. What could further complicate matters is the fact that Fumio Kushida, the Foreign Minister of Japan, hails from Hiroshima, which is one of the sites that were bombed by the US at the end of the Second World War.
Coming back to the negotiations, the discussions have been going on. However, it seems unlikely that a civil nuclear deal shall be signed anytime soon. In addition to his meetings with Abe and Kushida, the Indian PM is also supposed to meet the following ministers:
- Taro Aso, Finance Minister and Deputy PM
- Akihiro Ohta, Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
- Toshimitsu Motegi, Trade and Industry Minister
- Itsunori Onodera, Defence Minister
However, apart from the nuclear deal the Indian PM will also be looking to seal some deals in the business sector in key areas. This can be gauged from the fact that Modi is being accompanied by some of the most prominent industrialists in India.
Jan Dhan Yojana plan may be ruined by fake accounts
The Indian Government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has launched the Jan Dhan Yojana plan, which can be described as an ambitious step for all-round financial inclusion. The plan has gone off to a fantastic start but there is a speculation in some circles that this programme can be hurt significantly because of fake accounts. It is being speculated that a lot of people have opened the accounts because of the insurance factor that comes with the plan. Top bankers are of the opinion that this could be true for at least 20 per cent of the accounts opened under this plan.
However, they have also stated that there is no surefire way in which such miscreants can be traced. The programme was launched on August 28 and 1.5 crore accounts were opened on the first day. 77,852 special camps were held across the country for this purpose. The initial target for this plan was to open 1 crore accounts.
The United Progressive Alliance in its time had taken the initiative to start the same programme but in that case the approach was based on individual villages. However, the National Democratic Alliance decided to provide the benefit to all the households which do not have access to financial services of any kind. Deepak Narang, Executive Director of United Bank, has stated that for the time being only the accounts are being opened and they will be screened later. Sunil Srivastava, who works as the Deputy Managing Director of the State Bank of India, has called for a survey in the rural areas to determine the number of people who do not have any financial service to speak of.
However, he also feels that this decision could be a major shot in the arm for the national economy in spite of the number of people who may have opened false accounts. There are several benefits of the plan like accidental insurance benefits to the tune of INR 1 lakh, a micropension, an overdraft of INR 5000 that will be operative after a period of 6 months. There will be a RuPay debit card as well. However, this is not where the benefits end.
Narendra Modi has also proclaimed that a life insurance cover of INR 30,000 would be provided in case of accounts that are opened prior to the Republic Day in 2015. The Indian Government has instructed the banks to open 7.5 crore such accounts in the coming 5 months. However, bankers are saying that they are not sure of the sources from which the premium for insurance shall be paid as well as the other expenses that would be necessary to keep the accounts operational. They also do not know that if people who already have bank accounts shall be receiving the insurance cover benefit.
In spite of the all-round optimism it remains to be seen how the financial inclusion programme shapes up. What might also work against India in the long term, in the opinion of many, is that the accounts are of zero balance. This could pose some serious issues with regards to financial stability.