NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out plans Friday to ensure all Indians can have a bank account, blaming the high level of suicides among farmers on their inability to pay back money-lenders.

“Why are our farmers committing suicide? It’s because they have to take money at huge interest rates from the money-lenders,” he said in a speech on India’s Independence Day.

“We will have a prime minister’s people wealth scheme so that even the poorest of the poor can have a bank account of their own.”

Modi said that his Bharatiya Janata Party government, which came to power in May, would set up a scheme to provide farmers with special guarantees in exceptional circumstances worth up to 100,000 rupees (around 1,650 dollars).

“You see all these people with a mobile phone but at the same time, they don’t have a bank account,” he said in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort in the capital New Delhi.

“Well, we have to make a start from here.”

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