As the calendar year draws to a close, the total number of beneficiaries under the Centre’s financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), has crossed the 44 crore mark.

According to the latest government data, the total number of accounts opened under PMJDY stood at 44.05 crore, with a total balance of ₹1,47,812 crore as on December 8. The total number of accounts stood at 41.43 crore in the same period last year.

In terms of performance of States in implementing the scheme, Uttar Pradesh tops the list with highest number of accounts followed by Bihar.

New accounts added

Since its launch in 2014, the scheme has been steadily expanding its base. In the last five years alone, it added nearly 14 crore new accounts.

“Interestingly, it’s the interest from women which is driving the continued growth in Jan Dhan accounts, as more than half of the total beneficiaries are women, a majority of whom are from semi urban and rural areas,” a senior official with State Bank of India (SBI) told BusinessLine.

Of the total 44.05 crore accounts, 24.51 crore have been opened by women beneficiaries in urban and rural regions.

Public sector banks (excluding regional rural banks) have over 21.70 crore accounts with them, accounting for a total balance of over ₹1-lakh crore.

According to bankers, there has not been much increase in dormant accounts in the last two years, and many of the newly opened accounts have been witnessing some kind of transactions.

Inoperative accounts

According to the Finance Ministry data, over 5.82 crore Jan Dhan accounts were inoperative, translating into 14 per cent of the total number of accounts as on August.

“But now this percentage must have come down with a steady increase in new accounts. But this needs to be tracked and there is a need for the government to take measures such as pruning overdraft facilities to the beneficiaries. Due to concerns over non-repayment, many banks are now hesitant in providing overdraft facilities,” said an executive director with a public sector bank.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, savings and current accounts will be classified as dormant if there are no transactions in the account for two years.

The average balance in Jan Dhan accounts hovers at about ₹2,700 across banks.