19 crore Indian adults dont have bank account

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Although the number of unbanked has come down, there are still around 1.7 billion such people globally, with seven countries, including India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria, accounting for half of them.

Women at the forefront, he said, highlights a sharp fall in gender gap from 20 percent in 2014 to 6 percent in 2017 in bank accounts due to Government efforts.

Financial inclusion is on the rise globally and has been accelerated by mobile phones and the internet, a report by the World Bank has shown.

The bank said China and India, despite having relatively high account ownership, claim large shares of the global unbanked population due to their sheer size.

The World Bank's Global Findex Report shows that only 51 percent of adults possessed bank accounts in 2011, a number that rose to 61 percent in 2014.

In India, bank account ownership has more than doubled to 80% in six years.

Explaining the reason for this mismatch, the World Bank said: "Part of the explanation might be India's Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, developed by the government to increase account ownership". This is important because financial inclusion is crucial in helping people save money for an emergency, get loans to start businesses, and escape poverty.

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In developing countries, the gap in financial inclusion between men and women has stalled at nine percentage points.

Digital technology could take advantage of existing cash transactions to bring people into the financial system, the report stated.

"We already know a lot about how to make sure women have equal access to financial services that can change their lives", Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

Globally, 1.7 billion adults have remained unbanked, yet two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services, the report noted. The Findex study on financial inclusion confirms the prevailing fact, that cash still reigns supreme in India. However, the government's Aadhaar push, which has led to a more transparent system on several fronts, poses a risk for all these people without bank accounts. "Women gain decision-making power in their homes, and with more financial tools at their disposal they invest in their families' prosperity and help drive broad economic growth". Having internet access in addition to a mobile phone only expands the range of possible transactions.

In India three years ago, men were 20 percentage points more likely than women to have an account.

Other potential target groups identified in the report to increase digital payments are adults in India who have an account and a mobile phone.

Global Findex data are used to track progress toward the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the World Bank's goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020.

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