Ecowrap-Financialisaton Of Women In India Is Proceeding At A Rapid Pace: Public Sector Banks In Mission Mode

We are glad to enclose a copy of SBI Ecowrap report titled FINANCIALISATON OF WOMEN IN INDIA IS PROCEEDING AT A RAPID PACE: PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS IN MISSION MODE for your perusal.

Since 2014, with the advent of PMJDY, the financialisaton of women is gaining traction. Both women depositors and women borrowers have increased in the country as a lot of policies/missions based on lifecycle approach (see Annexure) for women have been implemented by the Government in last 8 years. Schemes like MUDRA loan, Sukanya Samriddhi, Women scholarships, Ujjawala etc. along-with PMJDY provide various financial instruments in the hands of women. It is interesting to know that women’s share is increasing in all the Government sponsored schemes. The share of women stands at 81% in Stand-Up India, 71% in MUDRA loans, 37% in PMSBY and 27% in PMJJBY, which is encouraging.

The recent RBI data on women depositors and women borrowers also validate this fact. According to ‘Deposits with Scheduled Commercial Banks – March 2022 (BSR 2)’, the share of women depositors in incremental bank deposits during FY22 increased to 35% from 15% in FY21, a whopping increase of ~20 percentage points. Even if we consider the share of women depositors in FY22 over FY20 (as FY21 was an exceptional year) in incremental bank deposits, the share increased by ~6 percentage points. The analysis based on population-group wise indicates that Rural areas are the major source of incremental women depositors. The share of women depositors in incremental rural deposits has increased from 37% in FY20 to 66% in FY22. Rural areas are followed by Semi-Urban ones. Interestingly, with some of the states making it mandatory that transfer of monetary resources can only be given to a women depositor, it is likely that the share of women depositors will continue to stay buoyant in bank deposits.

If we further dissect the data on the basis of bank-group wise figures, it is clear that the Regional Rural Banks are the major contributors in increased women depositors share. Even if we compare the FY22 data of RRBs over FY20, the share increased by substantial ~60 percentage points. One of the possible reasons for enhanced traction in opening of women accounts seems to be focus on opening accounts for all the members of SHGs (as against those of President and Secretary earlier). For example, at State Bank of India, use of in-house developed app like DISA to open more accounts of sponsored RRBs is benefitting scores of women in particular. Compliance and due diligence, with rigorous periodic KYC review is also ensuring that accounts of men that were opened earlier in liberalised era are getting closed more. SHGs are mainly concentrated in rural and semi urban areas. Around 48% of SHGs are in rural while 44% are in Semi-urban areas. SHGs are engaged not merely in agriculture, but in other micro activities covering non-agricultural activities and petty trade.

The increased opening of deposits at RRBs also underscores the fact that time is now ripe for a comprehensive review of regulations impacting RRBs. For example, EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) is a common reforms agenda for Public Sector Banks (PSBs). Similar type of reform agenda may be initiated for RRBs to improve their performance and ensure financial stability, improved HR practices and commercially prudent business practices. This could further enable the process of empowering women at the grassroots level.

Intriguingly, the share of women depositors in Private Sector Banks and Small Finance Banks remained constant in FY22 as compared to FY20. The share of women depositors in Foreign Banks declined by ~11 percentage points. Interestingly the same amount of increase was exhibited in the case of PSBs.

The state-wise analysis indicate that the top 4 big states where the share of women depositors increased in FY22 over FY20 are: UP, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala. The declining share of women depositors in states like Delhi, MP and few NE states is quite disturbing and needs course correction at the earliest.

Regarding women borrowers, according to ‘Quarterly Basic Statistical Returns (BSR)-1: Outstanding Credit of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs), March 2022’, credit to women borrowers (9.1 crore accounts) has stood at 22.5% share in bank loans to individuals, during 2021-22. If we look at sector-wise credit to women customers, it indicates that credit has
increased in almost all major heads like Agri, Industry (Mining,  Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas & water) and Trade.
However, a little decline was seen in personal loans segments. This seems, COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged women to take MSME loans, which was guaranteed through ECLGS schemes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *