India's first all-women public sector bank will open soon, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced on Thursday.
"Can we have a bank that lends mostly to women and women-run businesses; supports women SHGs (self-help groups) and women's livelihood; employs predominantly women; and addresses gender-related aspects of empowerment and financial inclusion? I think we can," Chidambaram said in his budget speech as MPs cheered the initiative.
"I, therefore, propose to set up India's first all-women public sector bank and I will provide Rs.1,000 crore (Rs.10 billion/$181 million) as the initial capital," he added.
The finance minister added that he hoped to obtain necessary approvals and the banking license by Oct 2013, and invited all the members present in the lower house of parliament to the inauguration of the bank.
"Women are at the head of many banks today, including two public sector banks. But there is no bank that exclusively serves women," Chidambaram said.