Financial inclusion: The best and worst districts of India

Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Tripura have performed better than peers in providing people access to banking

One of the most ambitious plans of the Narendra Modi-led government is to provide every Indian with a bank account. Given that only 59% of Indians have a bank account according to the 2011 census, the task will be difficult. But there are perhaps lessons laggard states and districts can learn from their more successful peers. After all, the average figure of 59% hides great variation within India when it comes to banking access.

A district-level analysis of census data shows that 94% of households in the most banked district in India, Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), have access to a bank account. In stark contrast, only 11% of households in India’s most under-banked district, Tamenglong (Manipur) have a bank account. As the accompanying chart of the top districts shows, Himachal Pradesh leads the race when it comes to banking access, with most districts in the 90% plus club belonging to that state.