World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim has praised the "extraordinary Indian effort" to open millions of bank accounts under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana.
"This is an extraordinary Indian effort," Kim said at a panel discussion here on Friday, organised on the margins of the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, referring to the 140 million new bank accounts opened for financial inclusion in India.
"We have set a hugely ambitious goal of universal financial access by 2020 and now we have evidence that we're making major progress," he said. "This effort will require many partners - credit card companies, banks, microcredit institutions, the United Nations, foundations, and community leaders. But we can do it, and the payoff will be millions of people lifted out of poverty."
The panel discussion included State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, who was also in the US capital, where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was leading the India delegation to the G20 finance ministers' meet and the World Bank-IMF conference.
The World Bank chief attributed the growth in bank accounts to "strong visionary leadership" of Modi and Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
Kim feels access to financial services can serve as a bridge out of poverty.
Bhattacharya said 49 percent of the accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana are being held by women.