The de-monetisation drive by the PM on November 8th brought some startling facts to the fore; our country was nowhere near ready to go cash-less, basic identification documents for a large number were lacking and banks were not very excited to open the much talked of ‘jan-dhan’ accounts. The shocking part was that this paucity existed all around me in Gurgaon-one of the more prosperous parts of the nation. The domestic help employed in the many condominiums and their ancillaries living in shanties nearby were un-banked and un-documented.
I, Kabir Singh in Class 10 of Vasant Valley School was driven by the desire to help. I organised and met with a few banks. It was a tough road but after a couple of frustrating attempts my meeting with ICICI bank fructified into my holding a camp on Feb 3rd. To meet with KYC norms, I was told that accounts could only be opened if applicants held Aadhar cards. UIDAI agreed to be part of the effort so that an end to end service could be provided to the applicant. The intent of my endeavour, was to facilitate the opening of bank accounts, knowing that it is the first step towards fiscal independence and also, identity and self-respect.
This camp was held on Feb 3rd at The Vilas, in DLF Phase 2 in Gurgaon. Originally advertised from 11.00 am till 3.00 pm, the camp continued till 8.00 pm because of the overwhelming response. Over 350 people visited; of which 180 people went back with valid Jan Dhan Yojana Bank accounts and 150 with Aadhar cards. Tokens were issued to facilitate an orderly work flow. Unfortunately, about a hundred people went back disappointed when the mela shut at 8.00 pm.
The Jan Dhan Yojana is a zero balance account with a focus on providing banking to the un-banked. It was a day of great pride for me as I felt the excitement all around. ICICI bank said that it was one of their most successful camps. Providing the not so fortunate an opportunity to have an identity was the intent of APNI PEHCHAAN BANAO and I am so grateful that it happened successfully.
I hope to continue this effort and hold several camps in the months to come, in and around my condominium and in the bastis around Gurgaon.