Bankers and government officials have described the financial inclusion work done in Madhya Pradesh under the Integrated Social Security Mission as amongst the ‘best’ at a one-day conference on ‘Prosperity through direct benefit transfer.’

So far 1,567 bank branches and ultra small banks have been opened under financial inclusion in the State.

Transactions worth Rs. 600 crore have taken place over the past eight months and approximately 1 crore 30 lakh accounts have been opened in ultra small banks.

“The Madhya Pradesh government has already accomplished the feat of extending benefits of schemes directly to beneficiaries,” said Gopal Bhargava, Social Justice Minister.

Mr. Bhargava emphasised the need for extension of banking services in tribal areas. He said innovation of financial inclusion will help plug leakages. Space for banking facility has been made available in all Panchayat Bhavans in the State.

Noting the benefits of financial inclusion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the Integrated Social Security Mission, Aruna Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary Rural Development said the objective is to “chalk out a model under which hundred per cent pensioners and MGNREGA beneficiaries start receiving payments through direct fund transfer in the first phase; and scholarships, health-related benefits and other payments in the second phase.”

Regarding database of families being prepared in the State, Ms. Sharma said 80 per cent of the work has been completed and amounts are being deposited directly in the beneficiaries’ bank accounts in 15 districts.

“Madhya Pradesh is the only State in the country where there is perfect coordination between the Reserve Bank of India, the State Government and other agencies concerned,” said M.V. Tanksale, Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India.

Currently, there are 67 lakh active job-card holders in Madhya Pradesh with a database of nearly all these labourers available.