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CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY,NAYA NAGAR

MITHAPUR, PATNA- 800001

LEGAL METHODS
FINAL DRAFT
TOPIC - “ BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK”

SUBMITTED TO:-
MR. VIJYANT

FACULTY OF LEGAL METHODS

SUBMITTED BY:-
SAURABH KUMAR

ROLL NO:- 1971

B.A.L.L.B(HONS)

1st SEMESTER(2018-23)

1
DECLARATION

I, Saurabh Kumar, student of Chanakya National Law University, hereby declare that the

project work entitled “ BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK” submitted to the Chanakya National

Law University, Patna is a record of an original work done by me under the guidance of Mr.

VIJYANT, teacher in subject, Chanakya National Law University, Patna.

THANK YOU,

NAME: Saurabh kumar

B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)

ROLL NO: 1971

1st SEMESTER(2018-23)

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CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that the project report entitled “ BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK ” submitted by

SAURABH KUMAR in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of degree of B.A.

LL.B. to Chanakya National Law University, Patna is a record of the candidate’s own work

carried out by him under my supervision. The matter embodied in this project is original and has

not been submitted for the award of any other degree.

DATE: (Mr. Vijyant)

Faculty OF Legal Methods

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank my faculty Mr. Vijyant whose guidance helped


me a lot with structuring my project.

I owe the present accomplishment of my project to my friends, who


helped me immensely with materials throughout the project and
without whom I couldn’t have completed it in the present way.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to my parents and all those


unseen hands that helped me out at every stage of my project.

THANK YOU
NAME:- SAURABH KUMAR

ROLL NO:- 1971

1st SEMESTER(2018-23)

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INDEX
INTRODUCTION
* AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
* HYPOTHESIS
* RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
* SOURCES OF DATA
1. BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK – AN INTRODUCTION
2. LITERATURE REVIEW

3. ROLE OF WOMEN IN BANKING SERVICE

4. WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA

5. CRITICAL ANALYSIS of BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK

6. CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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INTRODUCTION

The Bhartiya Mahila Bank (All Women Bank) was announced in the Union Budget of India for 2013–14
by Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram on 28th February 2013. It came with the objective of lending
mostly to women and women-run businesses along with providing support to women Self Help Groups
(SHGs). Moreover, it will employ predominately women to addresses the issue of empowerment and
financial inclusion of women. However, it will take deposits from both women as well as men. The
project aims at checking the feasibility of such a bank in an economy like India. Factors such as,
performance of women in the financial sector in India, performance of banks in India, international
experience of women banks and whether the objective of such a bank is in line with what is required,
were considered. The proposal has been analysed critically in the form of a debate. A survey was
conducted to record and analyse women’s views on such a proposal.

India's first women's bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank was inaugurated in Mumbai by Prime Minister Dr.
Manmohan Singh on the birth anniversary of Shrimati Indira Gandhi. One of the key objectives of the
bank is to focus on the banking needs of women and promote economic empowerment. It is being
looked upon as the beginning of a unique new institution that will provide financial services
predominantly to women and women self-help groups to the small businesswomen and from the
working woman to the high networth individual. Even though the bank is making its debut in metros and
urban centre, it will enter rural areas before March 2014 and will focus on centres where working
women population is significant.

In Budget 2013-14, the Finance Minister had announced setting up of all-women bank with an initial
capital of Rs 1,000 crore. Only 26 percent of women in India admit to having a bank account. Since fewer
women than men have bank accounts, fewer women are able to get loans. Per capita credit in the case
of women is 80 percent lower than in the case of men. Hence the need for a bank that predominantly
serves women.

Bank credit is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 16.5 percent during the
twenty year period from 2010 to 2030. That will mean a twenty-fold increase from the level of credit in
2010. The deposit base is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 14.6 percent that is
14 times the level of deposits in 2010. Assuming that the share of credit for women remains the same –
which should not be the case and the share must increase – even at that level total credit to women will

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grow to Rs.25 lakh crore. There is, therefore, an opportunity to reach more credit to more women,
stated the Finance Minister during the inauguration of the bank.

While the objective of the bank is financial inclusion, it would initially set up branches in all state capitals
across the country to have a hub. It is a recognition of the fact that viable banking needs presence in
areas of economic growth. Although, over 70% of banking business in India is controlled by public sector
banks, all these banks were nationalized. The government has promoted only financial institutions such
as IDFC and IIFL. In the past, it had promoted development financial institution IDBI, which converted
into a bank.

Post inaugural, seven branches became operational across the country, including Kolkata, Chennai,
Ahmedabad and Guwahati. The government has proposed opening of the bank branches in Delhi and
Indore also after the Assembly polls. With its headquarters in Delhi, the bank proposes to have 25
branches by March 31, 2014. Therefore, after starting with one branch in each banking region, the bank
will expand to 500 branches by the fourth year of operation, which is when it sees operations becoming
profitable.

An all Women Board has been constituted by inducting eight women Directors into BMB headed by
Usha Ananthasubramanian. Most of the senior executive of the bank have been hired on deputation
from other public sector banks.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

1. The researcher tend to analyze the role of women in banking services

2. The researcher tend to analyze employment of women in India.

3. The researcher tend to analyze the limitation and critically analyze the idea of women bank.

HYPOTHESIS

The researcher tends to presume that the All Women Bank could have been a great initiative in
upgrading women’s status. Several Indian women have managed to prove their worth in the financial

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sector and this bank would have undoubtedly help bringing more such talent into the arena. With the
BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK that started with such a fan fare has ended as a flop as it merged with State
Bank of India on 31 March 2017.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The researcher will be relying on Doctrinal method of research to complete the project.

SOURCES OF DATA
1. Primary Sources: Union Budget (2013-14)
2. Secondary Sources: Books, newspapers and websites.

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1. BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK – AN INTRODUCTION

Ensuring women have fair access to finance is essential to realizing the goal of maximizing the
contribution of women to the economy and drive growth. The 1975 International Women's Conference
in Mexico City, brought together like-minded women leaders from across the world, culminated into
formation of Women's World Banking (WWB) in 1980. WWB was created to address the hitherto unmet
needs of economically active but poor women's access to financial services thereby enabling them to
engage in productive economic activities. In 1982, promoted by SEWA, Friends of Women's World
Banking, India (FWWB-I) was created as one of the first few affiliates of Women's World Banking.

The country's first all-women bank, Bhartiya Mahila Bank (Indian Women's Bank) India's first women
bank under Reserve bank of India act was inaugurated in Mumbai by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
on the occasion of the 94th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 2013.
With the inauguration of the bank, seven branches became operational across the country. The other six
branches were inaugurated through video-conferencing by the prime minister and UPA (United
Progressive Alliance) chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also present at the event. It will primarily serve
women but deposits will also be taken from men. The chairperson of the bank is Usha
Ananthasubramanian, she is the executive director of Punjab National Bank.

Although initially reported as a bank exclusively for women, the bank will allow deposits to flow from
everyone, but lending will be predominantly for women. After Pakistan and Tanzania, India will be the
third country in the world to have bank especially for women. (First Post, 2013). The Bank's initial capital
consists of Rs 1,000 crores. The government plans to have 25 branches of the said bank by the end of
March 2014 and 500 branches by 4th year of operation (2017). Bhartiya MahilaBank is presently
operating in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Lucknow Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Indore.
The Government has taken initiative and set out an action plan in order to realize the ambition for
involvement of women in business and entrepreneurialism by the inception of Indian Women's Bank.
Ensuring women have fair access to finance is essential to realizing the goal of maximizing the
contribution of women to the economy and drive growth. Strong, sustainable and balanced growth of a
country is possible with the help of a vibrant, entrepreneur-led small business sector. Talent of human
resources is essential to establish and run successful businesses. A part of the Government's growth
agenda is to secure greater participation by women, as employees and as entrepreneurs. Women have
to be encouraged to take step into entrepreneurship by providing them support of the potential means.

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In India, only 26% of women have an account with a formal financial institution, compared with 46% of
men. That means an account in either a bank, a credit union, a co-operative, post office or a
microfinance institution, according to a study by the World Bank 1.

2. Literature Review:

The move has been criticized as it treats women "differently". This fact is "guised in many forms, some
in garbs of reverence, some as protection, but they are all forms of discrimination that promote gender-
based stereotyping. Women-only organizations stem from this eagerness to patronize women in the
name of preferential treatment.", reports the Hindu2 . Bank finance and support is a critical resource for
starting and growing businesses. But some women feel that the financial services sector does not always
take account of how their motivations and their businesses differ from traditional models. The first
report looking at gender disaggregated data reflects that SMEs led by women are more likely to be
successful when applying for loan finance compared to an SME led by men. It also shows that women
are more likely to seek advice prior to an application (BDRC, 2013). Generally for securing loans Women
could be facing problems such as refusal of business loans more frequently as compared to men; being
asked for more collateral for business loans than men; charged higher rate of interest for business loans
than men; discriminated against when applying for mortgage loans if they were pregnant or on
maternity leave; unfavourably stereotyped by bank staff dealing with business and mortgage loan
applications. Women's businesses also tend to be different to men's. They are more likely to be: in the
health, social work or professional activities sectors; sole traders; and, to have lower turnovers (BIS,
2012).

So there is clearly scope for greater involvement in business by women. There is also potential for
women's businesses to grow. The initiatives taken by the Government focus on building the confidence
of women for setting up and running their own businesses and about approaching banks to access the
finance to support and expand their businesses. Women-led SMEs have a different approach to
accessing finance. This includes lower confidence about being successful prior to applying for finance
(BIS, 2012), even though there is evidence that they are more likely to have an application approved
(BDRC, 2013). Women-led SMEs also have a greater tendency to be well prepared before applying for
finance, and, on average seeking smaller loans (BIS, 2012).

1
( Bbc.co.uk, 2013)
2
(The Hindu, 2013).

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This alternative evidence supports earlier conclusions by the Women's Enterprise Taskforce (WETF) in
2009. The WETF found that there was no evidence of discrimination against women in business lending.
It did find, however, that there was a persistent myth that banks discriminated against women which
needed tackling. It also highlighted the need for more robust gender disaggregated data, and support
and education to be available for women to access finance (Women's Enterprise Taskforce, 2009).
Microfinance programs have become internationally recognized as a method of attempting to reduce
poverty. As these programs have developed, many institutions have examined the role of gender in the
lending process. Women are attracted to microfinance programs since they are not required to go
through official institutions that have traditionally disregarded their needs. In turn, microfinance
programs find women to be more responsible in investing their loans and more likely to use profits from
investments to benefit their families. Presently, many microfinance institutions target women for their
programs (Rahman, 1999).3

3. Role of women in banking services

Women are placing themselves in diversified areas, getting themselves out of constructive frame works
of housewives and teachers. But now, the situation has changed so far. The growth in the banking sector
has created new windows of opportunity for women to find employment in the banking sector. Women
are placed at the top most positions of many major banks and they are proving themselves to be
competitive. They are involved in taking major decisions; they are introducing innovative ideas and
contributing towards the development of the economy.

Not only in the higher levels, there is involvement of women in the banking sector at the clerical levels
as well. Secured family life, attractive salary, favorable working conditions and the stability in work are
some of the reasons that make this sector more preferable to women. Women, who generally have a
clerical working mindset, will be more attentive and keen in doing their work. There is much smaller
incidence of being involved in corrupt and fraudulent activities against banks. At the same time, women
employees in the banking sector are criticized for their clerical working mindset. They are not much
innovative as men. In fact, they are not ambitious as men are and are not ready to undertake heavy risk.

3
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.

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Currently, out of 7 Board of Governors of Federal Reserve Bank, 3 are women. 2According to the 2012
edition of the Central Bank Directory, published by Central Banking Publications, there is a 50% rise in
female central bank governors in the world compared with 2011. Belarus, Kyrgyz Republic, Samoa and
the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City all welcomed new female governors in 2011, taking the number
of female governors in the world up to 13. Despite this increase, only 6.3% of all central bank governors
are women.4

EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA

Usually, economic growth goes hand in hand with emancipation of women. But data available with the
International Labour Organization (ILO) shows otherwise for India. Between 2004 to 2011, when the
Indian economy grew at a healthy average of about 7%, there was a decline in female participation in
the country’s labour force from over 35% to 25%. It’s a puzzling picture; over the past few decades
access to education for Indian women has increased but still they have increasingly stayed away from
employment5.

The New York Times has analysed the data to link it with age old gender norms in India; in a male
dominated society, women are rarely encouraged to seek jobs outside their homes. There are also
biases against certain jobs which lead to poor participation of women in the labour force.

4
http://www.swwb.org/about/about-wwb
5
http://www.edupa.uva.es

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But in certain sector like financial services, Indian women lead the charge. While only one in 10 Indian
companies are led by women, more than half of them are in the financial sector. Today, women head
both the top public and private banks in India.

Another example is India’s aviation sector, 11.7 percent of India’s 5,100 pilots are women, versus 3
percent worldwide. But these successes only represent a small section of women in the country.

India does poorly in comparison to its neighbours despite a more robust economic growth. In
comparison to India, women in Bangladesh have increased their participation in the labour market,
which is due to the growth of the ready-made garment sector and a push to rural female employment.
In 2015, women comprised of 43% of the labour force in Bangladesh. The rate has also increased in
Pakistan, albeit from a very low starting point, while participation has remained relatively stable in Sri
Lanka. Myanmar with 79% and Malaysia with 49% are also way ahead of India.6

6
http://www.covenantbank.co.tz/

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Research done by ILO shows that there has been a some increase of women employment in urban
areas, rural India shows the exact opposite trend since 2004. ILO attributes this to three factors:
increasing educational enrolment, improvement in earnings of male workers that discourages women’s
economic participation, and the lack of employment opportunities at certain levels of skills and
qualifications discouraging women to seek work.

4. CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF BHARTIYA MAHILA BANK

The Bhartiya Mahila Bank (All Women Bank) was announced in the Union Budget of India for 2013–14
by Finance Minister, P.Chidambaram on 28th February 2013. It came with the objective of lending
mostly to women and women-run businesses. It shall also provide support to women Self Help Groups
(SHGs) and their livelihood. Moreover, it will employ predominately women which addresses the issue
of empowerment and financial inclusion of women. However, it will take deposits from both men and
women.

In response to this announcement, a survey was conducted by the team on a small sample of women,
belonging to various professional backgrounds. As per the survey analysis, a large number of women felt
that they were satisfied with currently existing, regular banks. Yet, a small but significant number said

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that they would be more comfortable dealing at an All Women Bank. Keeping in view the results of the
survey and the basic proposal by the Finance Minister, the team could jot down certain pros and cons
related to the proposal.

Amongst the 214 countries in the world, only Pakistan and Ethiopia have commercial Public Sector
Banks for women. Most countries of the world however, have come up with several allwomen non-
commercial microfinance organizations. Ethiopia’s Enat bank was started only earlier this year and the
bank is still in its initial stages7. Pakistan’s First Women Bank was started much earlier in 1989, with the
same intent as the proposed All Women Bank in India.

Although women banks in Pakistan and Ethiopia have shown great hope, they haven’t been as
successful due to lack of proper implementation. For instance, most branches of the First Women Bank
are located in Pakistan’s posh localities, thereby failing to reach out to its intended target group.
Currently, 4 out of 6 Board of Directors of the bank are male. This no longer makes it an all women bank.
Contrary to the claims that the bank is a mix of development financial institution and social welfare
organization, First Woman Bank, Pakistan seems like any other commercial bank, with no customized
schemes for women8. It caters not only to women, but to men as well. For the quarter ending March’13,
the bank registered a loss of approx. 3.49 Crore PKR. Not only this, Non-Performing Loans (NPLs)
increased by PKR 161.5 million, or 26%. Similarly, the services offered by Enat Bank, Ethiopia seem like
any other banks’ and don’t seem to be specially designed for women customers. Considering this, one
could say that India should deter from having the All Women Bank and not spend so much on a venture
that has already fallen a little flat elsewhere in the world.

But there is a positive side to the story too. Certain reports do claim that Pakistan’s First Women Bank
and Ethiopia’s Enat bank have been successful in encouraging their women citizens in participating in
financial activities. A former finance officer of Pakistan’s FWB does feel that the bank offers excellent
working environment for its employees9.

Considering that Pakistan’s First Women Bank was initiated with the same intention, that is, to empower
women, India’s Bhartiya Mahila Bank could be inspired by it. We could learn from its failures and

7
http://www.capitalethiopia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2607:enat-bank-premiers-in-
style&catid=35:capital&Itemid=27
8
http://www.fwbl.com.pk
9
First Women Bank-Why and for whom, Faiz Bilquees, 1991
http://www.pide.org.pk/pdr/index.php/pdr/article/viewFile/1053/1032

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replicate its success stories. Going by a newspaper article published in the Economic Times on 5th July
2013, Finance Minister Chidambaram had said that the public sector bank for women would address
issues usually ignored by banks. After all, there is always a scope for improvement.

Looking at the performance of women, they have done a commendable job so far in the financial sector
in India. They have been placed at top positions of major banks, though in less numbers, they are
proving to be very competitive in the workplace. Major banks have highly qualified and experienced
women at administrative levels showing remarkable growth over the years. However, the proportion of
women in the banking sector as well as at higher positions in banks is not even close to being at par with
men.10

ICICI bank, India’s largest private sector bank is a perfect example of this new trend of bringing more
women towards the banking sector. Out of the overall 62065 employees at ICICI, 14655 are women. The
bank also has women placed at higher levels in the organization. The CEO, Chanda Kochhar herself is a
representative of the women work force of the bank. Many other banks have also moved towards the
concept of engaging more women at crucial points. This includes Shikha Sharma as the CEO of Axis bank,
Renu Sud Karnad as the CEO of HDFC bank, Naina Lal Kidwai as the Country Head of HSBC in India11,
Meera Sanyal as the Operations Head of Royal Bank of Scotland in India and Manisha Girotra as the
Operations Head of Union Bank of Switzerland in India12.

In existing commercial banks in India, women comprise only 5.65, 4.13 and 15.04 percent of the total
number of board of directors/management team members of public sector, private sector and foreign
sector banks respectively. The All Women Bank could prove to be a good idea as a majority women
board would ensure that they are more sensitive towards women issues and empowerment of women
which would help serving the cause of such a bank.

In a developing country like India, patriarchy and a strict division of labor still dominate the society.
Women often suffer the most from poverty because scarce resources are often allocated to the male
members of the family, rather than the females. Not surprisingly, a gender gap in business financing
does exist. There are certain difficulties such as unavailability of a guarantor for taking a loan, faced by
Indian women in order to avail the banking services. For women, with little or no literacy, current
banking processes in regular high volume branches seem to be impossible to navigate, as they do not

10
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2016/mar/27/women-banker
11
http://www.edupa.uva.es/schemesofwork/research/themes/pupil.../strategies.doc
12
http://www.centralbanking.com/central-banking/news/2136248/201

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know what to do when they go to a bank. Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head for HSBC and President of
FICCI, believes in the same. She once said that: “It is almost impossible for women to get a loan to set up
a service or knowledge company, sectors where they are most likely to start their business in. There is
no doubt women are discriminated against in the loan giving process. They have to work harder to
establish their credibility as entrepreneurs.”

The All Women Bank would work for the financial inclusion and empowerment of women in the
economy, as proposed by the Finance Minister in Budget speech 2013-14, which is the need of the hour.
The All Women Bank can prove to be really beneficial particularly for the women in rural and semi-urban
areas; to bolster their status, and to protect them from abuse, than any laws could accomplish.

Currently, there are already various women based non-profit microfinance institutions such as SEWA
Bank (Gujarat) that operate in India and are working efficiently for the women's economic, social and
political empowerment13. These institutions have reached out to many disadvantaged women micro-
entrepreneurs and have helped them to build operational and financial self-sufficiency. World’s Women
Banking also has a very strong base in India. The Friends of Women’s World Banking (FWWB), an affiliate
of the Women’s World Banking, operational from 1982, works to promote the participation of poor
women in the economy by building the capacities of promising and committed NGOs and MFIs to play a
lead role in providing financial services to the poor women for their socio-economic upliftment. Also,
various banks have come up with schemes promoting microfinance for women thereby aiming at
financial inclusion of women in India. For instance, Punjab National Bank offers advances up to Rs.10
lakh without collateral and advances over Rs.10 lakh and up to Rs.25 lakh, based on good track record
and financial position without collateral being insisted upon.

Although such schemes question what new the All Women Bank would provide to its customers, in this
already growing and women-concerned environment. Setting up of the All Women Bank will act as a
healthy competition for these existing micro-financing institutions, and thus ultimately improve
performances. We live in a country where almost half of women population’s economic potential is not
realized and harnessed; surely such a women bank can further serve the gender empowerment cause.
Of course, the proposed bank should cater to remote villages if it really wants to achieve its mission to
provide women in impoverished areas with an innovative combination of financial and non-financial

13
http://www.fwbl.com.pk

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services that will help improve their standard of living and to increase the quality of life of women by
providing capital and financial training services which will lead to rural economic empowerment and
financial inclusion.

With financial help, women gain spending power and they are able to educate their children, renovate
their residences, or buy modern technologies and medicines. Along with economic power, a woman
gains more independence and respect from her husband. Women are able to empower themselves and
become self-sufficient through the investments.

Traditionally, women are considered better savers than men; however, according to the Global Findex
database released in February 2013, only 26% females have an account in a formal financial institution
as opposed to 44% men. The proposed bank plans to set up camps across the country for the purpose of
opening new accounts for women. This move can potentially help improve the present scenario. It will
also help bring savings from home or those kept with relatives to the rural banking sector.

With the announcement of the All Women Bank, several commercial banks in India have also started
coming up with their all women branches in various parts of the country for the financial inclusion and
empowerment of women. Canara Bank, State Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Bank of India, Vijaya
Bank, South Indian Bank and Bank of Patiala are some of the banks which have come up with their all
women branches in several parts of the country. These branches are predominately managed by women
and extend advice as well as personal guidance to women on inculcating saving habits. These
workplaces act as a comfort zone for women, where women can bank easily with woman bankers; feel
comfortable sharing their concerns without being shy about their ignorance and without feeling
intimidated. With this, financial inclusion will expand with a larger portion of the women coming under
the fold. Commercial Banks such as Punjab National Bank, ING Vyasa, Canara Bank and Oriental Bank of
Commerce, amongst others, are offering certain women centric schemes to promote their women
clientele. The set up of such all women bank branches shall ensure a large number of jobs for women.

One major reason to set up all women branches was to allow access to women who are hesitant in
visiting male manned branches, the proposed All Women Bank, in fact, falls behind on this front as it
plans to recruit male staff as well, not standing true to its title. However, if a mere announcement of the
All Women Bank has encouraged existing commercial and noncommercial institutions of the country to
come up with such unique women centric schemes, it is needless to say that if the All Women Bank will
actually come into existence, these institutions will completely stop ignoring a very vital 50% of India’s

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population, out of competition or otherwise. This will eventually lead to their financial inclusion and not
push them away from the mainstream.14

Previous attempts at focused banking like Rural Regional Banks, when initiated in 1970s, had begun
with a clear motive to exclusively cater to rural banking. But over time, the authorities had to make
efforts to ensure commercial viability of RRBs. Going by this analogy, it might be asked if All Women
Bank can successfully ensure financial inclusion of women unless we address the core issue of
commercial viability.

A huge barrier to access of women to the financial services remains to be lack of education especially
financial literacy. Needing a male family member’s permission can inadvertently restrict women’s access
to a financial account. When already one member of the house has a bank account, usually the male
member, the need for another bank account is not realized in many situations. The ability of the All
Women Bank to find solutions to such problems is highly questionable and often this may lead one to
ponder whether spending such capital on the education of women in India could prove more effective
than setting up the All Women Bank15.

Also, there is a need to strengthen the existing policies and come up with more women centric schemes
for funding. There is certainly a case for more programs and schemes that include women in banking via
deposits and loans. The existing branches of banks, especially rural ones can have guidelines or even
annual targets on women’s banking operations. There is also a case to run financial literacy campaigns,
have account opening camps and of course financial literacy support in the rural and remote areas. A
major step should be to increase the number of female banking correspondents and providing training
and support to and via them. Even a simple thing such as a Mahila Sahayak – a female helpdesk at every
branch would help to make banks more inclusive and open for women.

The fact that there is a very thin line between the proposed All Women Bank and commercial banks with
all women branches sets back the proposed bank to answer how is it novel in its methodology and what
sets it apart from existing banks. One cannot also ignore that initiating a new bank from scratch would
involve a lot of national wealth. It may also be argued that setting up such a separate entity could
exclude women from the current system instead of its aim of focusing on financial inclusion of women.

14
http://en.wiki.org/wiki/Women%27s_World_Banking
15
http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/First-Women-Bank

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Using the capital to set up a large number of all women branches for a state owned bank like State Bank
of India or providing women specific schemes through Post Office Banks which have a wide network
across the country could be good alternatives. However the positives that the All Women Bank will
bring, too, can’t be easily ignored. They still remain an extremely innovative mechanism to bring women
financial power. Hence, if planned smartly and implemented thoughtfully, overcoming many of the
expected shortcomings mentioned above, the All Women Bank can be just the required change to bring
women the financial access, financial power and financial independence that they deserve.

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5. CONCLUSION

Considering the current plight of women in India, the All Women Bank could prove to be a great
initiative in upgrading their status. Several Indian women have managed to prove their worth in the
financial sector and this bank will undoubtedly help bringing more such talent into the arena. Although
the concept of the bank is not new to the world, there can always be a scope for improvement. There is
hope that All Women Bank in India, through its CSR activities, will be far more sensitive towards its
women customers and offer women friendly environment. If this is the case then India should not shy
away from initiating such a venture.

However, one cannot ignore the huge amount of national wealth and energy, which will go into setting
up such a bank. Also, when so many commercial banks in India are coming up with their own women-
centric schemes and all women branches, the proposal poses a major question on the uniqueness of the
bank. With prevalent illiteracy amongst the women folk of the nation, it is not clear whether such
institutions could prove beneficial for them or not. Commercial viability of the bank is also questionable.

As per the results of the survey, majority of women feel comfortable with the current banking systems.
Yet, a small but significant number of women feel that they would prefer to access banks with mainly
women around them. The voice of these women should not go unheard. Therefore, India may start with
its own All Women Bank. The bank can act as a transition phase but the country need not come up with
thousands of branches to test the success of the initiative. Only a few branches, in the initial stages, will
themselves, give us an idea whether the All Women Bank is here to stay or not.

The team had a meeting with the CEO of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank, Mrs. Usha Ananthasubramanian, on
September 3, 2013. The project and survey analysis were discussed with her.

She told the team about some of the innovative women schemes that the bank is planning to offer. She
also told about how the Indian bank would be better than its Pakistani counterpart in terms of being a
'Pan-India' bank and would be having branches all across the country. She said that as per norms, the
bank will have to locate 25% of its branches in rural un-banked parts of India. Being completely under
the GOI, it would be preferred more than the All women Branches of private banks. But she said
that despite all its women-friendly endeavours, the bank will ensure that its commercial viability is not
questioned, because at the end of the day, it has to sustain in the market.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. PRIMARY SOURCES
a. Union Budget(2013-14)
SECONDARY SOURCES:
1. WEBSITES:
1. http://bmb.co.in/

2. https://www.thinkingportfolio.com/case-study-womens-bank/

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharatiya_Mahila_Bank

4. www.employmentnews.gov.in/BMB.pdf

5. http://www.cbgaindia.org/wp-conten

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_World_Banking

7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_World_Banking

8. https://thewire.in/165005/indian-workplaces-losing-women-nationwide

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