Money & Banking

Jan Dhan scheme: Going strong 3 years on

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 09, 2018

Aiming high The biggest financial-inclusion drive in the world is on the right track PTI   -  PTI



With 30 crore customers and ₹65,000-cr balance, the accounts are gaining traction

Three years after the launch of the world’s biggest financial-inclusion programme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana appears to have stabilised, with 30 crore beneficiaries and transactions picking up.

The scheme was launched on August 15, 2014 with a target to provide universal access to banking facilities.

The total balance in these accounts stood at ₹65,697 crore as on August 9. The rural tilt of the scheme comes across in the fact that 17.61 crore beneficiaries, out of a total of 29.48 crore account-holders, hail from rural and semi-urban branches.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has so far issued 22.70 crore RuPay cards to account-holders.

Banks are seeing increasing traction in these accounts. “We thought the spurt in Jan Dhan accounts was driven by demonetisation, and there are allegations that some of them were used to launder black money. Investigations are on, but the maintenance of stable balances in these accounts may disprove this argument,” said a senior executive of SBI.

“Regular and healthy” transactions are being reported across banks, he added.

Just one day after the announcement of demonetisation on November 8, 2016, the cumulative balance in about in about 25 crore accounts was about ₹45,600 crore. But post-demonetisation, that figure has gone up.

While the final word is yet to be said on the alleged channelling of black money into Jan Dhan accounts, the scheme has indeed led to a transformation.

According to the NPCI, which handles the RuPay cards being given to Jan Dhan customers, out of 385 million RuPay cards, 225 million are of Jan Dhan accounts.

“In the past three years, domestic card usage has taken off, thanks to Jan Dhan,” says AP Hota, who recently demitted office as MD and CEO of the NPCI, and who played a key role in the implementation of the scheme.

A bulk of the RuPay card transactions are through ATMs, while about 25-30 million customers have started transacting via point of sale (PoS) terminals, signifying the advent of e-commerce and digital transactions in rural India.

Now that the financial inclusion in the sense of universal bank accounts has been driven by Jan Dhan along with Aadhaar seeding, it will have to go on to offer a basket of financial products such as credit and insurance, which are yet to take off in a big way.

Published on August 14, 2017

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