One of the visions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to bank the unbanked and fund the unfunded, for which 33 crore banks accounts were opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at an event. Addressing the 25th World Congress of Savings and Retail Banks, the finance minister said that the drive of financial inclusion of the poor and marginalised happened in a few months.
“Four-five years ago, 600 million (60 crore) hadn’t seen a bank account in their lives. The objective was to bank the unbanked, secure the unsecured, fund the unfunded and service the unserviced areas… Banks opened 330 million bank accounts in just a few months,” Jaitley said.
The finance minister stressed upon the fact that not only India needs a higher growth rate to eliminate poverty but also inclusive policies to ensure that the benefits of the economic development reach the poor and the margianislied.
Jaitley also indirectly addressed the observations made by the media and international organisations like the World Bank that 48% of bank accounts opened under the flagship Jan Dhan Yojna remained dormant. “… (Jan Dhan) it was zero balance accounts and gradually people started putting in money. To incentivise operational accounts, an overdraft facility was provided to them,” he said at the event.
Also Read: Is Modi’s Jan-Dhan Yojana really working? Here’s reality check by World Bank
In April this year, a World Bank report had shown that the share (of inactive account) in India was 48% —the highest in the world. Moreover, it was about twice the average of 25% for developing economies. However, it also pointed out that the Jan Dhan Yojana ensured that 80% of adult Indians now had bank accounts.
Giving details of the overdraft facility, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said that the government has doubled the overdraft facility of Rs 10,000. He added that the government now aims to provide bank accounts to all individuals, the remaining 20%.