Election fever? Jan Dhan accounts show steep, steady increase in balance

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 21, 2019

Banks suspect poll candidates could be behind the trend

The balances across banks in Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts are showing a steep increase in recent months.

Up to August-September 2018, the balance in the accounts were increasing at the rate of ₹600 crore to ₹800 crore a month.

For instance, in September, the total funds went up a modest ₹782 crore compared to the previous month.

In October 2018, before elections to five State assemblies began, there was a ₹4,474-crore jump. In November, however, there was a sudden dip.

From December again, there has been a steep rise in the total balance, and it has since been steadily increasing.

For instance, from December 2018 to January 2019, the balance went up by ₹2,438 crore followed by ₹3,207 crore and ₹3,476 crore in February and March respectively. The balance in the middle of every month is taken into consideration to arrive at comparative figures.

Number of accounts up

After a long lull, there has also been a spurt in the number of PMJDY beneficiaries. After a muted growth at 32 crore for many months, new accounts are now getting added more energetically, taking the total number of accounts to 35 crore as of March 13.

Asked about the likely reasons behind the growth, the executive director of a public sector bank said the “steep increase is puzzling” and needs to be looked into.



“It is not possible to rule out the impact of elections. There have been instances where candidates are depositing money directly into beneficiaries’ accounts as smaller amounts are not tracked. But this can push up the overall balance,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Keener scrutiny

Banks are now keeping a vigil on Jan Dhan accounts along with other transactions.

Under Election Commission norms, it is mandatory for banks to inform the District Election Officer and Income-Tax officials, on a day-to-day basis, if they find any suspicious transactions.

These could be transfer of funds online, including small amounts to various accounts/targeted groups from a single account, withdrawal of ₹10 lakh and above in cash, etc.

Published on March 21, 2019

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