Narendra Modi government's financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), enrolled over 40 crore bank accounts, of which 55 per cent are held by women. As the scheme completes six years since its inception, of the total accounts, 86 per cent are operational.
The number of accounts has steadily risen since the scheme was announced by PM Modi during his first Independence Day speech in 2014. It was formally launched on August 28, 2014. During the first year, the banks enrolled 17.90 crore new accounts, which has now increased to 40.35 core, according to the latest finance ministry data till August 19, 2020.
In all these accounts, total deposit balances under PMJDY stand at Rs 1.31 lakh crore. “Deposits have increased about 5.7 times with increase in accounts 2.3 times. The average deposit per account is Rs 3,239, which has increased over 2.5 times over since August 2015 (Rs 1,779),” the ministry said.
Increase in average deposit is another indication of increased usage of accounts and inculcation of saving habit among account holders, the ministry said.
According to the RBI guidelines, a PMJDY account is treated as inoperative if there are no customer-induced transactions in the account for over a period of two years. So, applying his condition, as on August 20, out of total 40.35 crore PMJDY accounts, 34.81 crore (86.3%) are operative. Continuous increase in percentage of operative accounts is an indication that more and more of these accounts are being used by customers on a regular basis, the officials said. As on 19th August 2020, 63.6 percent accounts were in the rural areas.
The accounts came handy as government used them for direct transfer of money into the accounts of beneficiaries of various schemes. About 8 crore PMJDY accountholders receive direct benefit transfer (DBT) from the government under various schemes.
Under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, an amount of Rs 500 per month for three months (April’20 to June’20), was credited to the accounts of women account holders under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). A total of Rs. 30,705 crore have been credited in accounts of women PMJDY account holders during April-June, 2020.
“The PMJDY has been the foundation stone for the Modi government’s people-centric economic initiatives. Whether it is direct benefit transfers, COVID-19 financial assistance, PM-KISAN, increased wages under MGNREGA, life and health insurance cover, the first step was to provide every adult with a bank account, which PMJDY has nearly completed.” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The government now intends to ensure coverage of PMJDY account holders under micro insurance schemes, promote digital payments including RuPay debit card usage amongst PMJDY accountholders, and improving access of account holders to micro-credit and micro investment such as flexi-recurring deposit.
The scheme was initially launched to provide universal access to banking services, with a basic savings bank accounts with overdraft facility of Rs. 10,000 to every household. The focus shifted from every household to every unbanked adult when the government revised the guidelines in 2018.