Out of over 40 crore PMJDY accounts opened so far, 63.6 per cent were from rural areas and 55.2 per cent belonged to the women beneficiaries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that PM Jan Dhan Yojana has been a game-changer, serving as the foundation for many poverty alleviation initiatives, benefitting crores of people. On the completion of six years of the Modi government’s landmark financial inclusion plan, the government said that the plan has added over 40 crore PMJDY accounts so far. Out of the total accounts, 63.6 per cent were from rural areas and 55.2 per cent belonged to the women beneficiaries. The initiative, which offered zero minimum balance requirement and easy KYC facility, was launched in August 2014. It attracted 17.9 crore people in the first year.
The Modi government had launched the scheme shortly after winning the Lok Sabha election of 2014, saying that it was an effort to bank the unbanked, secure the unsecured, and fund the unfunded. Gradually, features such as enhancement of free accidental insurance and doubling overdraft facilities were added to it. However, after the demonetisation in November 2016, the banking amount in Jan Dhan accounts saw an abnormal rise, giving a window to critics questioning if the PMJDY accounts have helped money laundering after the note ban.
The road ahead
The PMJDY is also the world’s largest financial inclusion plan and the government is planning to add more features to it. As PMJDY completes six years, the Ministry of Finance said that ensuring coverage of PMJDY account holders under micro-insurance can be included in the scheme. Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package, the government has recently extended micro-credit facilities such as the PM SVANidhi scheme for street vendors. Now, the government has assured improving access of PMJDY account holders to micro-credit and micro-investment facilities too.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that PMJDY has been the foundation stone for the Modi government’s people-centric economic initiatives. Whether it is direct benefit transfers, COVID-19 financial assistance, PM-KISAN, increased wages under MGNREGA, life and health insurance cover, the first step was to provide every adult with a bank account, which PMJDY has nearly completed, she said.