BJP has secured a landslide win in Uttar Pradesh and there are many reasons stated in the press and on the TV discussions, but one which has not come to focus is how the schemes implemented by banks helped BJP in securing a victory.

Over the last 7 to 8 years, the banks have been forced to lend under many schemes which are monitored by the Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman on a regular basis through interactions with the Managing Directors and Chairmen of the public sector banks; and through the pressure mounted through her press conferences. Several ‘Loan Melas’ were held with huge targets for banks, which the banks fulfilled.

​Let’s have a look at the figures of the PM Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Mudhra Yojana, PM Svanidhi, Atal Pension Yojana which are some of them.

​Under the PM Jan Dhan Yojana, 44.23 crore accounts were opened of which 34.9 crore were opened by the public sector banks and 8.05 crore accounts by the RRBs which are also under the public sector while only 1.28 crore accounts were opened by the private banks. This scheme lets you open an account with zero balance. Under this scheme, 29.54 crore accounts were opened in rural and semi-urban branches, while 24.61 crore accounts were opened by women.  Under PM Jan Dhan Yojana, 31.28 crore Rupay cards have been issued, and the account holders can avail a credit of Rs.5000.

​In UP alone 7,86,65,390 accounts have been opened of which 5,33,66,913 have been issued Rupay card.  7.8 crore accounts are a huge number!

​Under the PM Mudra Loan Scheme, you can avail a loan of Rs.50000 under ‘Shishu’ up to Rs.5 lakhs under ‘Kishore’ and upto Rs.10 lakhs as ‘Tarun’.  So far in the country, as a whole 339332942 loans have been given (34 crore borrowers) with loan sanction of Rs.1826042.57 crore. In UP in the year 2019-20 alone 5861422 loans with an amount of Rs. 30949.36 crore were sanctioned. (Data is not available on the website for other years.) This was out of 62247606 accounts with a loan of Rs.337495.53 crores in the entire country.  So approximately 3.4 crore borrowers in UP have availed loans of Rs. 182604.2 crore. As per the 2011 census, UP had 3.34 crore households. That means every household had access to a loan that could give credit to the Prime Minister, Mr Modi.  At least 2 persons in every household have opened an account with the banks. In a backward and underdeveloped state, the people are definitely grateful to have bank accounts and to be able to secure loans.

​These loans are covered under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).  So even if they are not repaid, banks won’t bother much. 

​Under the PM Svanidhi Scheme, meant for street vendors, 3341012 street vendors have been covered in the country out of which 7.8 lakh are from UP (Figures up to February 2022).

​The ruling party has used its machinery well with the support of RSS to reach every household and told people that all this is only because of Modiji.  This is what helped in the elections.

​Under the Atal Pension Yojana from 2019-2022, in UP, 507.23 lakh persons have been covered in the age group of 18 to 40.  This is a pension scheme with a low premium.  Notice that again, the names of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Modiji have been used.

​Thanks to a well-oiled campaign machinery that not only works during the elections but also throughout the year, people have been made to believe in the cult of  Modiji.  And interestingly, without the government spending big money, this has been achieved through the public sector banks. That’s why Modi has repeatedly talked about reaching every poor, after each victory.

Gandhi said that poverty is the worst form of violence. But keeping people poor and giving them some benefits helps the politicians. We have masters of the game. Will they at least rethink the privatization of banks now? Private banks have not helped them in spite of the huge support given to them, and they never will. Of course, they have also given Mudra loans, but they don’t really cater to the poor. Privatisation will be detrimental not only to the people, but also to the government. Hope the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister realise this when they still have time. 

Thomas Franco is the former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

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