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USAID, India and US companies to support India’s “Jan Dhan” initiative

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New Delhi (Jan. 28, 2015):  During his historic second visit to India, President Obama commended Prime Minister Modi’s Jan Dhan initiative to prioritize financial inclusion for all of India’s citizens.  As part of the President’s pledge of U.S. support for this vital Government of India goal, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to announce that over twenty key U.S., Indian, and international private sector organizations intend to partner with USAID in support of the Government of India’s program to expand meaningful access to financial services and lay the foundation for a world-leading, inclusive digital economy. 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.

Initial partners represent six categories of organizations critical to building this shared economic infrastructure: Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies (FMCGs), banks, payment networks, mobile network operators, eCommerce, and leading civil society organizations. They include Accion, Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, Citi, Coca-Cola, FICCI, FIS, HSBC, ICICI Bank, IFC, ITC Limited, Janalakshmi, Marico, MasterCard, Procter & Gamble, SAP, SEWA, SnapDeal, Telenor, Visa, Vodafone, and Yes Bank. USAID looks forward to working with each to make financial inclusion a long-lasting and sustainable reality in India.

Through the Government of India’s Jan Dhan pioneering initiative, over 110 million new households have received bank accounts, which entitle them to debit cards and other financial tools needed to participate in the formal economy. These 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. Recent estimates indicate that only 6 percent of retail establishments in India accept digital payments, limiting consumers’ ability to make meaningful use of accounts and new digital payment tools. Building a widespread payments acceptance network to meet this challenge requires collective action.