Deposits in bank accounts opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), launched about five years ago by the Narendra Modi government, have crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark, according to an RTI. The same was filed by one Chandrashekhar Gaur, a social worker from Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh, seeking the details of the PMJDY from the Ministry of Finance.
The reply to Gaur's RTI application revealed that the total balance in over 36.25 crore PMJDY accounts was at Rs 1,00,831 crore as on July 17, 2019. The RTI also revealed that five years after the launch of the scheme, there were 4.99 crore or 14 per cent accounts which still have zero balance in them.
Launched in August 2014, the PMJDY aims at providing universal access to banking facilities to the people across India. Accounts opened under PMJDY are Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) accounts with additional feature of RuPay debit card and overdraft. For those unserved, there is no requirement of maintaining minimum balance in BSBD accounts.
The finance ministry had recently said in the Rajya Sabha that the number of zero balance accounts under PMJDY declined from 5.10 crore (16.22 per cent of the total accounts) in March 2018 to 5.07 crore (14.37 per cent of the total accounts) in March 2019. More than 28.44 crore account holders have been issued the Rupay debit cards.
Enthused by the success of the scheme, the government enhanced the accident insurance cover to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for new accounts opened after August 28, 2018. The overdraft limit has also been doubled to Rs 10,000. The government also shifted the focus on accounts from 'every household' to 'every unbanked adult'.
Over 50 per cent of the Jan Dhan account holders are women. The objective of PMJDY is to ensure access to various financial services like availability of basic savings bank account, access to need based credit, remittances facility, insurance and pension to weaker sections and low-income groups.
The PMJDY also envisages channelling all government benefits to the beneficiary accounts and pushing the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme of the central government. In a related note, the scheme has also entered the Guinness World Records for most bank accounts, within years of its launch.