Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana!
In order to achieve the objective of financial inclusion by extending financial services to the large hitherto un-served population of the country and to unlock its growth potential, the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched on 28th August, 2014, although the Prime Minister declared about the launching of the scheme on 15th August, 2014.
The Yojana (PMJDY) envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit and insurance. The beneficiaries will receive a RuPay Debit Card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.
In addition, there is a life insurance cover of ?30,000 to those who opened their bank accounts for the first time between 15 August, 2014 and 26 January, 2015 and meet other eligibility conditions of the Yojana. The Yojana has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for opening most bank accounts during the week starting 28 August 2014 as part of the financial campaign.
As on 28 January, 2015, around 12.31 crore bank accounts have been opened, of which 7.36 crore are in the rural areas and 4.39 crore in urban areas. Under the PMJDY, 67.5 per cent of the accounts as on 28 January 2015 are with zero balance.
Thus, with the launching of this scheme called “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yonana” with the objective of adding on more dimension to the existing mechanism of lifting the poor out of poverty line or eradicating the financial untouchability of the poor, through their linkage to banks. The manner in which the scheme took off has, in fact, broken the records of all banking and insurance sectors.
The scheme was simultaneously launched at multiple places by 20 chief ministers and several Union Ministers with 600 programmes and around 78,000 camps that were organized on the opening day to open bank accounts.
As on 5 April, 2015, over 12.5 crore bank accounts had been opened under the scheme in just nine months. As much as Rs 14,000 crore has been deposited in Jan Dhan accounts and the challenge now will be to increase the transactions.
Thus, the PMJDY, the flagship scheme of the Union Government, will not only be a potent instrument of financial inclusion but will also be a good base for implementing some measures of economic reforms. Direct cash transfers to beneficiaries in place of subsidies through various agencies could certainly be an excellent measure of economic reform in order to correct the prevailing faulty subsidy regime.
However, concerns have been raised in some quarters that a large numbers of people are not transacting through these accounts although the government has been passing on subsidy and other benefits to those people.