PM's Jan Dhan Yojana accounts exceed 75 mn target; reaches 115 mn

Banks have opened a record 115 million accounts under the government's financial inclusion plan, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), as of 17 January 2015 against the target of achieving 75 million accounts by 26 January 2015.

PMJDY, which provides a platform for the government to transfer subsidy benefits directly to the beneficiaries (Direct Benefit Transfer), which in turn will help to plug leakages and thereby provide savings to the exchequer, has already been recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records, finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the achievements made under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and has given certificate stating the ''Most bank accounts opened in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign is 18,096,130 and was achieved by the Department of Financial Services, Government of India from 23rd to 29th August, 2014,'' he said.

Highlighting the achievements made under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the biggest financial inclusion initiative in the world, Jaitley said the plan now covers 99.74 per cent of the households surveyed. 

He said the survey was conducted in about 22.7 million sub service areas (SSAs) in rural areas and wards in urban areas in a record time of 4 months. Out of the accounts opened so far, 60 per cent are in rural areas and 40 per cent are in urban areas.

The share of female account holders is about 51 per cent, the minister added.
 
Jaitely further said that Rupay cards have been issued to more than 100 million beneficiaries who will get a benefit of personal accidental insurance of Rs1 lakh under the Yojana. In addition there is a life insurance cover of Rs30, 000 for eligible beneficiaries.

Jaitley said banks have mobilised deposits of a total Rs9,188 crore in the accounts opened under PMJDY.

Under the DBT scheme for LPG subsidy, he said, an amount of Rs1,757 crore has already been transferred to the beneficiary accounts through the banking network since 15 November 2014, he added. 

Jaitley said so far 19 schemes out of 35 DBT schemes have been rolled-out across the country, including MGNREGS in 300 districts. The finance minister said that the state governments have also been requested to transfer cash / benefits directly in the bank accounts of beneficiaries thereby cutting layers in the delivery process.

Jaitley said the earlier campaign on financial inclusion started in 2011 had a limited objective.

The focus was on the coverage of villages with population of 2,000 or more with banking services. He said that the major shift in PMJDY is that households were targeted instead of only villages as targeted earlier. Further, he said, both rural and urban areas are covered this time as against only rural areas targeted earlier.

The finance minister also informed that to provide universal access to banking facilities for all households across the country through a bank branch or a fixed points, 1.23 business correspondent (BC) called Bank Mitras have been set up across the country.

He said that steps are being taken to ensure that the Bank Mitr are provided with device capable of online interoperable transactions using Rupay cards and Aadhaar enabled payment system.

The use of Rupay cards at other access points will help in reduction in cash transactions and making them digital, which will move the economy towards a less cash society, he added.