Narendra Modi's biggest project so far is Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), an aggressively promoted idea to open bank accounts.
The English media ran full-page ads and TV commercials to announce the scheme that is supposed to reach largely rural households. It seemed bold, new - almost pathbreaking.
Mr Modi claimed that the scheme has performed a miracle or sorts - a massive mobilisation effort over just two weeks to achieve a feat never attempted and achieved. The mobilisation drive is unprecedented, but is the scheme pathbreaking?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), ministry of finance and public-sector banks have been trying to do forcible financial inclusion for years now, on which many bright minds and hundreds of crores have been spent.
Meanwhile, the government allowed a whole new business segment to come up - microfinance. Microfinance companies have tried to replace the moneylender with an only slightly less usurious business model, funded by venture capital and even the stock market.
The PMJDY has no truck with the learnings from any of this. People who have worked in the area of financial inclusion for years have not been seen or heard so far in this mega plan of forcible financial inclusion.
I guess the babus know everything. They only need to whip the public-sector bankers to get things done.
But, even in design, is the PMJDY something new? Let's look at some of its features.
Text: Debashis Basu, Business Standard
Image courtesy: AP