Thursday 30 October 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Text of the Speech Of the Speech of Secretary (Expenditure) Delivered at the Inauguration of Cross Regional International Conference on “Increasing Financial Outreach of the Youth Population, 2014-Postal Savings Bank Forum and 90th Anniversary of World Thrift (Savings) Day

“On this occasion of Cross Regional International Conference, I welcome participants from various countries, officials of World Saving Bank Institute and other officials from Government.

It is matter of pleasure that the Cross Regional International Conference is being organized in India. As a nation our significant population is young and youth will continue to represent a large proportion of our citizenry in near future. Considering such demographic profile of India, the subject matter and deliberations of the Conference with focus on ‘Increasing the Financial outreach in youth’ will be of significant value to us.

I note with satisfaction that the conference is well represented by eminent experts in this field and people having vast experience in running saving programme in their region. Your inputs and shared experiences will provide further momentum to savings movement.

India as a society is driven by the ethos of savings for our future generations and acquiring knowledge.  There is a verse in one of our classical and one of the oldest languages Sanskrit;

क्षणशकणशश्चैव विद्यामर्थं  साधयेत 
क्षणे नष्टे कुतो विद्याकणे नष्टे कुतो धनम ।।

The verse implies that knowledge and wealth can only be acquired gradually by investing time and sustained savings, respectively. If one does not invest time, knowledge cannot be acquired and unless one saves, wealth cannot be built.  Not surprising, it is common place in India to set aside a sum as first charge from the income for saving for future generations and educating them.

With such rich tradition, India has always been a partner in the international effort to promote savings. Since 1924, when India was one of the signatory to the International Savings Congress, we have been unsparing in our efforts to inculcate the habit of thrift and savings have often helped us in tiding over difficult economic situation.

            While promoting savings it has to be realized that Government acts as the custodian of the pooled savings of some very under privileged sections. It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that such household savings are completely secure, earn a good return to the investor and the money is available to the investor at the time of his or her requirements . Further this pooled wealth is channelized for the purpose of creating durable assets in the country.

To address these challenges, the first regulatory framework in India dates back nearly 130 years with the enactment of Government Savings Bank Act. In the post colonial period, Constitution enjoined upon the State moral responsibility to bring in economic equality and provide avenues for economic prosperity to all its citizens. Savings is one vehicle to usher in economic prosperity.

Responding to the responsibility placed by the constitution Government expanded the legal framework for small savings instrument to meet the enhanced requirement. To mobilize savings through Savings certificates, Government enacted a Savings Certificate Act in 1959 and to provide a social safety net to those working in the un- organized sector a Public Provident Fund Act was brought in 1968.

All the instruments and schemes to channelize small savings were made fully secure by the Government and carry the implicit guarantee of the Government. These instruments provide easy access and have features to provide liquidity to the saver. There are significant tax incentives extended by the Government to those making investments.

Contribution of domestic savings in National Development has been remarkable. India is ‘one’ among the counties having a high rate of domestic saving, which is at present to the tune of 30% of its GDP. The domestic financial savings rate which had declined during last few years has again shown recovery and with propagation of the programmes to encourage people to save more, we expected to attain a higher savings rate. The Government as a policy is committed to revitalize and strengthen the network which promoted savings among the masses.

India has taken various measures to encourage savings in the recent past. “Jan Dhan Yojana” of financially including those who are left unbanked is a major step in this direction. Further, Government has significantly expanded the bouquet of small savings scheme. A special scheme for the Girl Child will be shortly announced by the Government to address the gender imbalance. Similarly, a scheme with insurance cover to the under privileged is being worked out. Similarly schemes are being reintroduced and expanded to increase the flow of savings towards productive purposes. Recently, we have increased the tax incentive on investment made from small savings by 50%.

Children and young people are the future economic actors whose financial decisions, as prospective family heads, employees and community contributors, will impact, ultimately, on the stability of world economies. They need to be prepared to take on this role and responsibility. In order to be effective they need to start dealing with financial matters as early and young as possible. This needs support from both their family and their schools. Thus it is up to all of us to enable the systematic and structural platforms for extending opportunities to the young people. It also involves the creation of social and cultural environment and legal and regulatory framework to facilitate the financial engagement of children and youth.

India has one of the highest ratios of young people who are below the age group of 35 years. It is expected that nearly 2/3rd our population will ne young in coming decades. Similar situation is faced by other developing nations as well.  This is the greatest strength of the India economy of today. The relationship between youth and formal financial service providers needs strengthening. This can be done by traditional means as well as with the use of technological means at various levels since today’s youth is more familiar with technology. The same can attract them towards the financial products. I am sure, this WSBI Cross Regional Conference will address the issues of meeting this challenge and working out strategy to motivate the young to open and use their accounts.

India is committed to revitalize the small savings for the benefit of small savers and sustaining economic development. The cooperation between Government agencies like National Saving Institute, Department of Posts and Banks with the International organizations like World  savings Banks Institution, is a welcome step in this direction and I expect that this Conference will be helpful in formulation of new strategies based on the experiences of the esteemed delegates who have come all the way to India and in turn, they will also get enriched by the experiences of India in mobilization of resources and promotion of savings.

Financial inclusion is one of the most potent weapons to fight against poverty. I would thus like to emphasize that such cooperation should not end with this conference but must continue so that strategies for financially including those who are not a part of process are constantly built and recalibrated  . Further, the massive challenge of financial engaging the youth is adequately met. With these words, I wish the conference all the success.”

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued 70 crore Aadhaar numbers as on 28th October 2014.

As on date, nine states including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, have crossed 90 percent Aadhaar coverage, while sixteen states have Aadhaar coverage of over 70 percent. UIDAI is also conducting Aadhaar enrolments in the newly assigned states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, at a fast pace. These four states with a combined population of about 34 crore, were added earlier this year to UIDAI’s mandate by the government. Till date, Aadhaar numbers have been issued to 8.93 crore residents in these states, which is 26% of the target population.

Over 25,000 Aadhaar enrolment kits are operational across the country, including both camp mode and Permanent Enrolment Centres, with a total output of approximately 10 lakh enrolments per day. UIDAI has already geared up its processing capabilities to achieve the targets and has the capacity to process around 15 lakh enrolment packets every day. Enrolments are expected to pick up further once the festival season is over.

In the recent months, Government of India has provided fresh impetus to the UIDAI by linking Aadhaar to various schemes and initiatives, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), MGNREGA, Pensions, Scholarships, DBTL, UAN (EPFO), PDS, Passports, Attendance system in government offices etc. 

Aadhaar facilitates "anytime, anywhere" online authentication of a resident through universal verification of one`s identity based on the demographic and biometric information of an individual, thereby eliminating any chances of duplication or fraud. Aadhaar not only provides universal mobility of identity to every resident, but also assists in online booking of tickets and in applying for a passport. It is also a proof of identity (PoI) and a proof of address (PoA) for opening a bank account, as it meets the `Know Your Customer` (KYC) norms of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Under the recently launched PMJDY, Aadhaar, through its online e-KYC service, proves one’s digital identity beyond doubts and uniquely enables an individual to open a bank account instantly, in a paperless manner. Aadhaar is now the world’s largest biometric database.

For any further information, please contact:

ADG (Media), UIDAI at 011- 23466831

A Curtain Raiser on Postal Savings Banks Forum

The Minister for Communications & IT and Law and Justice World Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad will inaugurate the Postal Savings Banks Forum in New Delhi tomorrow.

This year’s forum is being organised by World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) jointly with the National Savings Organisation (Ministry of Finance) and the Department of Posts. 

The theme of this year’s Postal Savings Banks Forum will be "The rising force of postal banking in the retail banking market".

The role of postal operators in the world of retail banking is often overlooked. Post Offices worldwide hold 1.6 billion savings and deposit accounts. This is second only to commercial banks, which hold about 2.5 billion accounts. Thus, post offices are critical to the pursuit of financial inclusion, which is recognised today as a vital pre-requisite to socio-economic development.

The Universal Postal Union estimates that several hundred million people, often without an account, use the Post to make and receive basic payment transactions such as domestic and international transfers, government payments and utility payments. Postal operators, in all their activities, have always relied on a business model based on large volumes and low costs. Combined with the universal service obligation through which the State gives the mandate to the Post to serve the entire population, these specific features make the Post a worthwhile ally in the fight against financial exclusion.

Financial inclusion brought about through the postal network is called postal financial inclusion. India has about 1.55 lakh post offices, which is more than the combined branch strength of commercial banks (about 1 lakh). The number of savings accounts held in post offices in India is about 31 crore, which is more than that of any commercial bank in the country. The postal network possesses excellent cash management abilities and is trusted for its governance practices. Thus India seems to have the right mix of ingredients to deliver concrete results in postal financial inclusion. Hence the WSBI Postal Savings Bank Forum is of considerable interest to the Banking Sector in India.

Office Memorandum on Regularization of Casual Labour with Temporary Status - Proposals from Ministries & Departments

Government to launch revamped Kisan Vikas Patra soon: Finance Ministry

New Delhi: The government will soon launch the revamped Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) besides some new saving instrument programmes for the girl child as well for the physically challenged person, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday.

"We are going to launch the revamped Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) soon again in the form of saving instrument," Rajat Bhargava, Joint Secretary (Budget) in the ministry finance said at an event here.
"Similarly, the government of India is also going to launch some new saving instrument programmes for girl child as well as for the physically challenged person who has not been covered so far (under the programme)," Bhargava added.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the Budget speech, had said he will re-introduce the KVP, which was a very popular instrument among small savers.
"I plan to reintroduce the instrument to encourage people, who may have banked and unbanked savings to invest in this instrument," Jaitley had said.
The KVP was discontinued by the UPA government in 2011 following the Shyamala Gopinath Committee report. It had suggested that KVPs may be discontinued as they are prone to misuse.
KVP was a popular saving scheme that doubled the money invested in eight years and seven months. The government sold these saving bonds through Post Offices in the country.

The new government has identified financial inclusion and access to formal financial channels as a priority area and the reintroduction of KVP is seen as furthering this objective.

Medicines under CGHS can be issued for up to 3 months at a time in chronic diseases

F.No 2-2/2014/CGHS PPT/CGHS(P)
Government of India
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Department of Health & Family Welfare

Nirman Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi 110 108

Dated: the 21st October , 2014


Sub- Issue of medicines / reimbursement of expenditure on investigations / treatment procedures / implants and other medical devices under CGHS- regarding

             With reference to the above mentioned subject the undersigned is directed to draw attention to paragraph (c) and (d) of the Office Memorandum of even No dated the 25th August 2014 and to state that in response to the representations received from CGHS beneficiaries in this regard , it has now been‘decided by the competent authority to withdraw the provisions under para (c) and para (d) of the Office Memorandum No 2-2/2014/CGHS HQ/ PPT/CGHS(P) dated the 25th August , 2014 [view] and to restore the status existing prior to the issue of above stated OM dated the 25th August, 2014.

In other words medicines under CGHS can be issued for up to 3 months at a time in chronic diseases on the basis of a valid prescription and for up to 6 months for those beneficiaries who are going abroad, as was the case prior to issue of OM dated 25.8.2014.

Under Secretary to Government of India

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