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AS IT IS - China Announces Media Reforms / India Opens Bank for Women

作者:Caty Weaver 发布日期:11-29-2013

Today on the program, we learn about a new bank in India designed to increase the economic power of women.

But first, we look at the Chinese government's plans for media reform.

China Announces Media Reforms

***

India Opens Bank for Women

India has opened a bank to provide special services to women. The bank is just one effort that is aimed toward improving the economic empowerment of Indian women. Now Caty tells about how the bank will make loans and accounts more available to women.

The Bharatiya Mahila Bank features an all female staff and seeks to increase the economic power of Indian women.
The Bharatiya Mahila Bank features an all female staff and seeks to increase the economic power of Indian women.

Komal Devi works cleaning three houses in Gurgaon near New Delhi. She saves about 20 dollars a month from 100 dollars of earnings. But she has nowhere to put the money.

Ms. Devi says she has made many attempts to open a bank account in which to store her money. But she has not been able to do so because she does not have any identification documents. She is concerned that her savings are not secure stored at home. She says sometimes her husband takes the money. Sometimes it gets spent.

To help women like Komal Devi, India has opened the Bharatiya Mahila Bank designed mostly for women. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke at the opening in Mumbai. He said some of India's women have become business leaders but a large majority of them still face major barriers.

"The sad reality is that women in India face discrimination and hardship at home, at school, at their place of work and in public places. Their social, economic, and political empowerment remains a distant goal…They score below men in literacy, in health status, in employment potential and in entrepreneurial skills."

The Prime Minister has called the bank a small step toward the economic empowerment of women. India is a society where men mostly control family financial resources. Seventy-five percent of women do not even have a bank account. Use of bank credit is also far lower among women compared to men.

Officials say the new bank will help open bank accounts for poor and less-educated women. It will support women business owners with easier loan processes. For example, the bank will offer loans up to $400 for women to start small businesses even if they cannot offer guarantees of payback. Such guarantees, or collateral, are difficult for Indian women because men are the main owners of property.

The new bank will begin operations with seven offices in major cities. It is to expand to 500 offices over four years. The banks will be in city and rural areas.

And that's As It Is for today. I'm Caty Weaver. Thanks for joining us.

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