The government has worked out a two-phase financial inclusion programme under which a basic bank account with an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 would be provided to 15 crore persons by August, 2018.
"Comprehensive financial inclusion incorporates providing all households in the country with banking services, with particular focus to empower the weaker sections of society, including women, small and marginal farmers and labourers, both urban and rural," a finance ministry document said.
During the first phase, the mission envisages universal access to banking facilities providing basic accounts with overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 after satisfactory completion of one year of operations.
Besides, RuPay debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh would be provided and a Credit Guarantee Fund for coverage of defaults in overdraft account would be set up.
The first phase starting from August 15 this year would end in August next year.
In the second phase between 2015-2018, micro insurance and pension schemes like 'Swavlamban' would be provided.
Some of the Phase II activities would also be carried out in Phase I, it said.
"In addition, in this phase, coverage of households in hilly, tribal and difficult areas would be carried out. Moreover, this phase would focus on coverage of remaining adults in the households and students," it added.
The present banking network of the country comprises of a bank branch network of 1,15,082 and an ATM network of 1,60,055. Of these, 43,962 branches (38.2 per cent) and 23,334 ATMs (14.58 per cent) are in rural areas.
In the Budget 2014-15 speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said: "To provide all households in the country with banking services, a time-bound programme would be launched as Financial Inclusion Mission on August 15 this year.
"It would particularly focus to empower the weaker sections of the society, including women, small and marginal farmers and labourers. Two bank accounts in each household are proposed to be opened which will also be eligible for credit," he had said.