Addressing the nation on India's 69th Independence Day, the Prime  Minister said these bank accounts have also fetched deposits of Rs 20,000 crore, even though the Jan Dhan scheme calls for zero balance in banks so that the poor were not deprived of access to the banking system.

"For the poor, the doors of banks were closed. I said this has to change. We wanted to strengthen financial inclusion," he said.

"Bank accounts are essential for integrating the poor into the financial system. That's what we have done," Modi said.

As regards the deposits of Rs 20,000 crore in these bank accounts, Modi said, "If this richness of the poor was not there, such a feat would no have been possible."

He also congratulated the banking system for making such a task possible. "Opening 17 crore bank accounts is a difficult task. I  congratulate the bank staff," he said.

Modi said no person wants to remain poor and those who live in poverty want to move away to achieved a better quality of life, adding, "That is why, all our programmes must be for the poor."

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