Money & Banking

Covid-19 boosts Jan Dhan; close to 2 crore new accounts opened in 3 months

G. Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on July 21, 2020

Notwithstanding the general disruption caused by the lockdown and fears over the spread of Covid-19, a significant number of new accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in the last three months.

An analysis of government data shows that the total number of PMJDY accounts has gone up from 38 crore as on April 2020 to 39.82 crore as on July 8, with a total balance of ₹1,31,576 crore.

Significantly, out of the 40 crore Jan Dhan beneficiaries, 22 crore are women.

The growth has been driven by the benefits announed as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, where ₹500 wasdeposited by the Centre into the accounts of women.

“It has now been clealy established that Jan Dhan accounts have become the main channels of benefit disbursement. With unabated spurt in Covid-19 cases, more and more accounts are being opened at the branches in many rural areas,” an Executive Director with a public sector bank told BusinessLine.

The positive impact of Covid-19 on new account opening is also seen clearly if one examines the growth trends in PMJDY accounts during the last three years.

While about three crore new accounts were added every year, nearly two crore new accounts have been opened in the last three months alone.

The total accounts –28.23 crore in April 2017 – increased to 31.42 crore and 35.39 crore by April 2018 and April 2019, respectively.

The total balance, too, had gone up from ₹63,971 crore in April 2017 to ₹1,19,680 crore in April.

The Covid relief packages by the Centre and different State government pushed up the total balance from this year April onwards.

Challenges

However, a spurt in Jan Dhan accounts is also a challenge for banks, as some of them turn inoperative after a few months. Servicing them and linking them with RuPay Cards could be a challenge for banks if the number continues to grow.

As of now, the pace of growth in the number of accounts is more than the time taken to issue RuPay cards to beneficiaries. As on July 8, 29.52 crore cards have been issued, while the total number of beneficiaries are at 39.82 crore.

Published on July 21, 2020

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