Credit facilitation and non-traditional Skill development of women are very important areas for banks to look into so as to enable and empower them to participate productively and successfully in the economic progress of the country. And to have space wherein ladies themselves explain and educate women about all the credit facilities they require for their entrepreneurial activity and advise them about the returns on their investments, is really a great step forward towards realizing an inclusive economy.
First Lady of J&K, Usha Vohra stated this today at the jam-packed SKICC Auditorium after e-inaugurating the J&K Bank’s first all-women business unit, Jawahar Nagar. The click elicited a thunderous celebratory applause from the participants jubilant over this maiden project of the bank.
The thread that united all the women participants from different social and economic backgrounds with those from the bank was the yearning for gender-equality in both the journeys and processes of economic development of the state.
In her address, Usha Vohra, who is the wife of J&K Governor N N Vohra, further said, “I am delighted to be here to inaugurate the first women branch to be manned by women for women, for their benefit and to facilitate their entrepreneurship and their ability to empower themselves. It is a great privilege indeed.”
“As the rejection rate by banks for credit to women is two and a half times greater than men, the bank must play a pivotal role in providing support to women and make them understand what it entails to ensure that they get credit. And I am sure under the present chairman the bank will do abundantly well in securing that women are truly empowered and have their rightful place in society”, she added.
The First Lady also e-launched the bank’s women-specific products besides unveiling Pink Platinum Debit and Credit Cards exclusively for women customers. The participants were taken on a visual walk of the all-women branch through a film screened on the occasion.
In his inaugural address, J&K Bank Chairman and CEO Parvez Ahmed said, “The enlightened and the gracious presence of the honourable first lady in the inaugural function is indeed a great honor for the entire J&K Bank family. Also, the establishment of Ladies Business Unit at Jawahar Nagar is a matter of pride for us at J&K Bank as our maiden initiative to offer exclusive banking services to the women fraternity of the state. It is part of our commitment to be the most credible financial partner and guide of women in J&K state.”
The chairman stated: “Since the inception of its functioning has been sensitive towards the financial empowerment of all sections of society of J&K state particularly the women fraternity. But I rather believe that it is a misnomer when we say Women Empowerment. Woman is the manifestation of Empowerment. She is the very origin of this world who gives birth to Prophets, Saints, Kings, Presidents and Prime Ministers. She is the centre of a family, the society and humanity. Her role in every aspect of life is beyond parallel. So, basically, when I say women empowerment, it is by no means an indication of any favor that we are doing to the unprecedented spirit of being a woman. Our efforts are just an endeavour to facilitate women while they juggle in myriad roles and responsibilities.”
The chairman was all praise for the women workforce of the bank. “At J&K Bank we have the best women workforce in terms of integrity and sense of belonging to this institution. I would like to see the day when this great institution of the state is headed by a woman,” said Parvez Ahmed.
“This is just a first step and going forward we will be opening such Ladies Business Units in Jammu and other major locations of the state besides launching other women-specific initiatives. I am sure that the branch will offer comfort and convenience to the women customers. And in order to create a sustainable entrepreneur culture, they will offer financial assistance and counseling to the women entrepreneurs at every stage of the business startup. Our best wishes and support will always be with the entire team but they will have to meet the expectations to demonstrate that women are capable of leading this ambitious project with success and excellence,” he added.
Sharing his great enthusiasm for the women empowerment both in its symbolism and substance, he asserted, “On behalf my team at J&K Bank I can assure you that we have an unwavering faith in the capacity and wisdom of the women of our state to succeed in their chosen domain. And on the basis of my two decades experience at the J&K Bank, I know that our women-resource are the best in terms of their capabilities, customer service, leadership roles and I would be more than delighted to see the day when J&K Bank is headed by a woman.”
Earlier, welcoming the distinguished dignitaries and the top management of the bank at the SKICC, J&K Bank President Rajni Saraf briefed the audience about the origin of the very idea saying, “The idea of empowering women by women has been conceived and nurtured by the Chairman Parvez Ahmed who besides having great commercial banking acumen has keen sense of duty and responsibility of the bank towards the society. The inauguration of the Ladies Branch today is akin to plant a sapling, which will soon grow into a strong tree because it is being planted with sincerity of purpose and noble intentions.”
“The iconic presence of Madam Usha Vohra, who has her own success story of being an accomplished IAS officer retiring as Secretary to GoI, adds to the aura of this occasion. I hope and pray that this all-women business unit sets an example in churning out more and more women entrepreneurs out of housewives,” she added.
Before the conclusion of the event, three Kashmiri singers namely Shazia Hameed, Muneer Ahmad Mir and Rehana Jan enthralled the jam-packed audience with their scintillating musical performances.
The function concluded with a vote of thanks by the Bank’s Vice President and Zonal Head Kashmir (Central – I) Tabassum Nazir. In her vote of thanks, she highlighted the banking acumen of the chairman loaded with responsibility of the bank towards the society and his idea of empowering women by opening an exclusive women branch, first of its kind in the country by any commercial bank, would definitely lead to financial empowerment of women folk in true sense.
Meanwhile, he e-launched Bank products comprised of a special Saving Bank Product for females called “Pink-Women Saving Account” laden with a bouquet of features besides an innovative, customized and hassle-free loan product EmPower that has been specifically tailored for the encouragement of Women Entrepreneurs.