Bank accounts under PM scheme to be exempt from Aadhaar

Written by Arun S | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 28 2014, 06:16am hrs
To ensure a head start for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the government will not make it mandatory for the new bank accounts opened under the ambitious the National Mission on Financial Inclusion to be linked to the Aadhaar numbers, according to the finance ministry sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants at least one crore new bank accounts to be opened on Thursday, the opening day for the PMJDY. The scheme would cover households in hilly, tribal and troubled regions such as those that are Naxal-affected only after August 2015.

Accounts will opened with any one document including electricity/telephone bill, marriage/birth certificate for address proof and NREGA job card/ identity card of accredited institutions for identity proof. Having an Aadhaar card/number is not mandatory. These accounts can be linked to aadhaar numbers later. However, Thursdays camps will facilitate issuance of aadhaar card, an official told FE.

Modi launched the PMJDY in his independence day address to the nation. Currently, only 58.7% of the households have access to banking services.

SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had told FE that an overdraft facility of up to R5,000 per customer will be covered by a government guarantee, which is essentially a default guarantee. Ministry officials, however, said a proposal for a Credit Guarantee Fund is being considered for coverage of defaults in overdraft accounts, adding that the corpus of the fund is yet to be decided. The creation of the fund will be post August 2015. Sources added the overdraft facility will be permitted only to Aadhaar-enabled accounts after ensuring that the account holders have satisfactorily operated their account for six months.

Also, though RuPay Debit card and RuPay Kisan Card are being offered on Thursday to all new account holders, these will be functional only after their bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar numbers, the sources said.

Besides, these accounts also will not immediately be connected to the Core Banking Solution (CBS) platform. Though, as Bhattacharya said, banks are putting in other checks and balances to prevent any misuse, officials are unsure if the system is fool-proofed against frauds and scams.

The PMJDY is being implemented in two phases. The first phase (till August 14, 2015) would cover all households with at least one basic banking account with RuPay Debit card with an inbuilt accident insurance cover of R1 lakh and an overdraft facility as stated earlier. There will also be a financial literacy programme, expansion of Direct Benefit Transfer under various government schemes through the beneficiaries bank accounts and issuance of RuPay Kisan Card. In the second phase, (from August 2015 to August 14, 2018), micro-insurance and unorganised sector pension schemes will be provided.