Shri Manoj Sinhaji; the most venerable Padma Vibhushan Shri Satish Gujralji and Shrimati Gujralji; Satishji, we are honoured not only by your presence but we are honoured that you have given a big boost to this effort to promote rural banking, to promote banking at the doorstep of every Indian in the country. Thank you very much for designing this stamp. And it’s gorgeous. It’s really beautiful. I was looking at it and I think it’s one of the finest stamps that I have ever seen in my life. It’s truly beautiful. Thank you Satishji.
Shri Nanda, Shri Suresh Sethi, Ms Mira Handa, Mr AP Singh; all the distinguished colleagues working in the India Post Payments Bank, the post department, officers, all the employees, today’s award winners, ladies and gentlemen.
An award ceremony is always very exciting, full of enthusiasm, full of joy, but when it’s coupled with awards for exemplary performance in such a short period of time, I think it’s a matter of double celebration. I have in my professional career had a lot of occasion to see the banking system in India grow, but I have yet to see a comparable occasion where a new bank has had such a vast impact in such a short period of time, reaching the nook and corner of the country.
Truly, a scale-up that has rarely been seen, probably anywhere in the world. A 126,000 access points ready up and about, I am told the figure is going to significantly increase in the next week or two, reflecting the vision of this leadership, reflecting Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to make growth and financial inclusion a reality, not only for those who have boarded the train – if I may use an analogy from a ministry that both of us share – but actually take banking to a 125 crore Indians all over India.
And I do not imagine there could have been a better method other than, as Suresh has said, ‘डाकिया बैंक लाया.’ आप लोगों को याद होगा, राजेश खन्ना की पिक्चर थी शायद? मुझे लगता है 50 साल हो गए होंगे उस पिक्चर को भी शायद अभी, 40 साल हुए हैं। और हममें से इस रूम में कोई भी ऐसा व्यक्ति शायद ही होगा जिसने कभी न कभी गुनगुनाया नहीं होगा ‘डाकिया डाक लाया।’
और वास्तव में आपने मनोज जी आपके कुशल नेतृत्व से प्रधानमंत्री जी की सोच को कार्यान्वित किया, हमारे डाकिया भाइयों बहनों को, सभी ग्रामीण डाक सेवकों को इज़्ज़त दी और एक प्रकार से मोबाइल की जो तेज़ गति से बढ़ती हुई विस्तार थी जिसका भी नेतृत्व आप ही कर रहे हैं, उसके रहते हुए पोस्टल सिस्टम रिडंडंट न हो जाये, पोस्टल सिस्टम का वर्चस्व न खत्म हो जाये उसको सुनिश्चित करते हुए यह पूरा जो प्रयोग रहा है इंडियन पोस्ट पेमेंट बैंक का मुझे पूरा विश्वास है यह अपने आपमें इतिहास रचेगा और देश के हर नागरिक को, खासतौर पर हमारे गांव में रहने वाले भाई बहनों को जो अधिकार है बैंकिंग सुविधाओं का, जो उनकी ज़रूरत है अर्थव्यवस्था के साथ जुड़े, भारत के विकास के साथ जुड़ने की उसको पूरा करने में एक बहुत अहम भूमिका यह बैंक निभाएगा।
आज के सभी विजेताओं को तो मैं तहे दिल से बहुत-बहुत बधाई देता ही हूँ लेकिन सभी तीन लाख जो इस प्रयोग के साथ जुड़े हैं चाहे पोस्टमैन हों, चाहे ग्रामीण डाक सेवक हों आप सभी को मेरी शुभकामनाएं देता हूँ कि आप इस काम को पूरी ईमानदारी से, पूरी लगन के साथ नीचे तक पहुंचाएंगे जिससे फिर एक बार जो आखिरी अवॉर्डी थे मुझे लगता है मुझे तो सबसे बड़ा आनंद आया उनको मिलकर जो यूनिफॉर्म में थे। मुझे तो वास्तव में बहुत ही आनंद आया उनको देखकर कि उन्होंने अपनी वर्दी का भी सम्मान किया और आज के इस कार्यक्रम में वर्दी में आये।
यह गाँधी जी की कल्पना थी कि एक गरीब से गरीब व्यक्ति को आर्थिक व्यवस्था के साथ जोड़ा जाये, जो कमज़ोर वर्ग है उसको आर्थिक व्यवस्था के साथ जोड़ा जाये। और मनोज जी के, मेरे, हम सबके जो प्रणेता हैं – the ideologue who gave the Bharatiya Janata Party its vision, its very purpose of being – Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, had very rightly espoused his vision for India when he said that the right of the nation’s wealth, the nation’s natural resources is for the poorest of the poor, the last man at the bottom of the pyramid first.
And I think truly, with this initiative, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Minister Shri Manoj Sinhaji, and the entire postal team is living up to that vision, is living up to that expectation. And I have no doubt that this big roll-out and this rapid roll-out will certainly make banking transactions for the poor, for the people in rural India much more simple, much more affordable, real time and provide a huge service, a huge benefit that they can also enjoy the fruits of development much faster, they can get their benefits seamlessly, directly into their account, they can ensure that they use their savings more efficiently, more effectively.
And this combination of the postal department banking services and development of the nation will work in tandem to truly make growth inclusive and take growth and the benefits of growth to every single citizen of this country.
The statistics that were told were truly impressive, the way we have seen the enthusiasm in the department to make this programme a success. In fact, we have moved now to mere slogans to actual action on the ground, and we saw that action right now while the awards were being given. I think our Minister Shri Manoj Sinhaji was reflecting true leadership where with every individual who came he was not only encouraging them, but also enquiring of some target, enquiring of some work that was probably last given to them. And it reflects what a responsible leadership can do and how a responsible leadership closely monitors every programme to make it a great success.
Truly, this kind of massive work could not have been achieved, but for very-very active engagement of the Minister, of all the senior officials of the department, all the supervisory people working at different levels, and certainly would have been impossible to achieve, but for the hard work, but for the commitment, but for the passion that we can see in our postmen, in the Dak Sevaks. My compliments to all of you in this room, my compliments to all the 300,000 people associated with this programme.
And I am sure that given the large scale-up in its very first year, we will see the economic transformation of rural India actually reaching the benefits to the poorest of the poor, to the last man in every village, howsoever remote it may be, in a fashion that is seamless and truly reflective of the new India that each and every one of us is working towards.
The simple and smart methodology that Mr Sethi just explained of providing delivery of services to various customers, the way they have been able to use databases such as IndiaStack, the way UPI is being modified to be accessible for all the people without any need of smartphone, without remembering the account number, will truly revolutionize banking in my humble opinion.
This kind of smart banking, this kind of easy banking is something that India is probably leading the world in. I suspect no other part of the world has focused much on providing this kind of easy and simple banking. And in a way, this bank will also help us enhance customer literacy about finance and the financial world.
I am sure our postman and all the people associated with this bank will also become gradually advisors to help people in the remote areas of the country enjoy the benefits, enjoy the fruits of development. Because, very often, we find that very good policies and programmes remain unaccomplished because they don’t reach the last man at the bottom. And I think the beneficiaries of all these schemes will also benefit with the connect, the human connect that we have seen the postman has, particularly, in rural India.
And I am sure leveraging on this connect between the postman and the customer, and this connect is very often of generations, very often this connect continues for decades. And if one was to actually reflect on the true defining and most easily recognizable government bodies which every citizen of this country immediately relates to, and fortunately, for all of us, both of them are under the able leadership of Manoj Sinhaji. It’s the postman and the railway station. These are two things that everybody in the country can connect with.
I would suspect if each one of us was to reflect into our own family history, you would find that sometime back in your family history somebody boarded a train which has brought you here in this room today. It is that train journey, maybe in your generation, maybe the earlier generation, maybe two generations back, but it would have been that one defining train journey which changed the course of your life.
I have no doubt in my life that each one of us in this room have some day or the other received a good news from the postman, something that gave you that feeling of happiness, the feeling of joy. And today, I can say with authority that given the transformational changes, both in the postal department and in the railway department, that sense of joy that ‘wow’ feeling will once again come into the lives of the poor of India, once again come into the lives of the citizens of India, particularly in rural areas.
And the India Post Payments Bank will play a very-very important role in this transformation of India that all of us are collectively working for. My best wishes to all of you.