The Finance Minister has promised an exclusive public sector bank for women. The move will certainly empower women and increase their financial independence. Rural and semi-urban women, who find it difficult to approach banks and leverage the various financial schemes to their advantage, will find such banks very useful.
The proposal sends a strong message that the government is focussed on women’s issues. Apart from granting licences, the government should create the right governance structure/framework and ensure that there is enough awareness among women of the benefits such banks can offer. The key to the success of women’s banks are an effective deployment strategy and its execution.
Whatever the background to the proposal, the setting up of a PSB for women is good as no country can go forward if its women are not gainfully engaged in any economic activity. Ideally, the bank should cultivate entrepreneurship and not remain a regular bank giving loans. It would be better to bring in a development leader to head the bank for infusing new energy and set it up on a totally different platform. A PSB hand heading the bank would render it just another PSB.
The establishment of special banks for women will go a long way in empowering them. But without proper network and infrastructure, they will be counter-productive.
It is an exercise in futility. Instead, the government should strengthen infrastructure in the existing banks. Many frauds have been exposed in PSBs and cooperative banks. There is no point in starting another category of banks.