India would soon have its first public sector Women's Bank by the end of this year, said Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the budget.
The initial capital for the women bank will be Rs 1000 crore. FinMin also invited all members of Parliament to its inauguration, once the bank get its necessary approvals and license from the Reserve Bank of India.
"Women are at the head of many banks today, including two public sector banks, but there is no bank that exclusively serves women," Mr. Chidambaram said.
FinMin said the proposed bank would lend mostly to women and women-run businesses, support self-help groups and women's livelihood and would mainly concentrate on employing women.
At present, there are all-women banks in the co-operative sector. For instance, the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) set up a women-only bank in 1974. The bank is owned by self-employed women as shareholders, and policies are formulated by their own elected board of women workers.
There is Konoklota Mahila Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd in Jorhat, Assam, which has been operating under a license obtained from the RBI since 2000.