Economy

Pandemic beats DeMon: Jan Dhan accounts surge, by numbers and balance, in April-Oct

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on October 23, 2020 Published on October 22, 2020

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The no-frill bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have crossed the 41-crore mark, thanks mainly to the surge in new joinees during the lockdown.

As on October 14, the total number of Jan Dhan accounts stood at 41.05 crore with a total balance of ₹1,30,741 crore. Since April 1, when the number stood at 38 crore, 3.05 crore accounts were added.

During the same period in 2019, the number of accounts went up from 35.39 crore to 37 crore, or a rise of 1.6 crore. Thus, the pandemic led to a 100 per cent increase in the opening of new Jan Dhan accounts.

The rise in balance reveals a similar trend. From ₹1,19,680 crore on April 1, it jumped to ₹1,30,741 crore on October 14.

Behind the rise

The surge is possibly related to the thrust on digital payments — which require a bank account — amid the rising fear of infection. “This (Covid-19) can be seen as having an impact greater than demonetisation on financial inclusion and awareness about the need for bank accounts for digital payments,” a senior SBI official told BusinessLine.

The Atmanirbhar package, which involved, among other things, transfer of funds to about 24 crore women, led people to view Jan Dhan as the channel for all welfare schemes. Hence, there was a rush to open new accounts by those who did not have one, feel bankers.

While the average balance has been on the rise at about ₹3,300, zero-balance accounts have declined about 5 per cent and are now at 3 crore out of the total 41 crore Jan Dhan accounts.

RuPay cards lag

It appears that RuPay debit cards, however, have some distance to go. As of now, just 30 crore of these cards have been issued.

“As the use of RuPay cards holds the key to the advantages of PMJDY accounts, immediate steps are needed to provide the cards to account holders,” said the chief of a major public sector bank.

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Published on October 22, 2020
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