New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said zero balance accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana have come down to 20 per cent from 77 per cent previously.
Speaking at the Conclave on Financial Inclusion by United Nations in Delhi, Jaitley said 300 million accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana.
Jaitley went on to say that before 2014, financial inclusion was not a “centre stage agenda” of the government. “In 2014 when we launched the PMJDY, in a mission mode throughout the country with the help of banks, 44 per cent of Indian households were outside the banking system,” he said.
It was with the help of the staff who went from home to home to encourage households to open bank accounts, that this feat of 300 million PMJDY accounts was reached. “There are about 250 million families in India and the number of PMJDY accounts are 300 million. So you have more accounts than families, adding to the pre-existing ones,” he said.
Jaitley further hit out at the criticism from the Opposition who said 77 per cent of the PMJDY accounts were zero balance and hence “ornamental”. “The figure today has come down to a little below 20,” he said. “The real challenge was how to get people to open these accounts, get them to make these accounts operational and how do you incentivise them to really operate these accounts,” he added.
Launched in 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was aimed at providing universal access to banking facilities starting. Jaitley said these "Basic Banking Accounts" got overdraft facility of Rs 5,000.
Jaitley said India was substantially an “unpensioned” society as people could not afford the premiums. “We announced two important insurance schemes and a pension scheme that would be linked to these bank accounts. These insurance schemes where you pay Re 1 a month and get Rs 2 lakh accident insurance. At a slightly higher premium, you get a life insurance,” he said, adding these incentivised people to open and operate these accounts.