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SS Mundra downplays deposit issue on zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts

Addressing allegations about banks transferring money into Jan Dhan accounts to show a drop in zero-balance customers, Reserve Bank of India deputy governor SS Mundra said it was “not a criminal act”and added that such stray incidents should not steer focus away from the main goal of financial inclusion.

By: | Mumbai | Published: September 20, 2016 6:21 AM
RBI deputy governor SS Mundra RBI deputy governor SS Mundra

Addressing allegations about banks transferring money into Jan Dhan accounts to show a drop in zero-balance customers, Reserve Bank of India deputy governor SS Mundra said it was “not a criminal act”and added that such stray incidents should not steer focus away from the main goal of financial inclusion.

Speaking on the sidelines of a BRICS workshop on financial inclusion on Monday, Mundra indicated that there was going to be no inquiry into the matter. “It is for individual banks to look whether it is consuming their disproportionate time; which may not be economically beneficial to them,” he said.

After reports of bankers transferring R1 into Jan Dhan accounts to show a drop in zero-balance customers surfaced last week, the finance ministry said state-run lenders such as Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India were investigating the matter at their branches.

The Jan-Dhan Yojana is a national programme for encouraging financial inclusion, especially in the remote parts of the country, in order to ensure access to basic financial services such as savings and deposit accounts, remittance, credit, insurance and pension.

Accounts can be opened in any bank branch or a business correspondent outlet, which in turn collaborates with a bank.

In his speech at the workshop, Mundra spoke at length about how there was need for more banking services for farmers, small institutions and the unorganised sector in general.

Other speakers, including AP Hota, managing director and CEO of National Payments Corporation of India, Jiji Mammen, CEO Mudra Bank and Smita Aggarwal, director – investments for Omidyar Network, discussed the urgent need for digitisation of credit history to make issuing loans easier.

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