New Delhi: Banks across the country have opened 30 lakh new savings accounts ever since demonetisation came into force.
According to a report in DNA, over 30 lakh new savings accounts have been opened from November 9 onward, 11.82 lakh of which have been opened by India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI). SBI is opening 50,000 new accounts a day, says the report.
Manju Agarwal, deputy managing director, SBI was quoted as saying, “We are opening nearly 50,000 accounts on a daily basis all across the country. There is no specific geography as the requests for new accounts are coming from all quarters. Our business correspondents played a critical role in opening new accounts in the remote villages. Financially excluded got included in this drive.”
Business correspondents in remote villages are the ones tasked with opening most new accounts, said the report.
Banks are now moving to factories, tea gardens, hospitals, tea shops and even housing societies to help people open accounts, as the finance ministry continues to pressure them.
But a senior bank officer was quoted as saying that ‘many of these accounts may be opened only to launder money and may be open or remain active until this operation (demonetisation) is complete.’
Even some private banks are seeing over a 50% surge in savings accounts, said the report. With the month coming to a close, many industrial establishments are finding it difficult to pay the salaries of their blue collar workers in cash. Thus, opening of accounts has become a priority issue.
The Central government has been pushing for opening of new bank accounts and instituted the Jan Dhan Yojana with the objective of extending banking facility throughout the country. It is estimated that only 53% of Indians hold a bank account as of March 2016.