Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ‘Jan Dhan’ yojana on financial inclusion has become the latest ammunition for the Opposition to target the government. This comes after an Indian Express report revealed how banks are depositing Re 1 in the bank accounts of most poor people to show a reduction in the number of zero-balance accounts. Accusing the government of fudging data, political parties have lashed out saying that ‘window-dressing’ is being done to make things look good.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury took to Twitter, calling government’s economic data a ‘jumla’. “Is all policy of this govt PR, and all economic data a Jumla? The Jan Dhan scheme is the latest example,” Yechury tweeted. “75% of all accounts were zero-balance in Dec 2014, showcasing govt failure. To dress up govt failure, banks forced to deposit Re1. #AchheDin,” he said, adding, “Most poor persons opened Jan Dhan bank accounts expecting their promised 15 lakh from the PM, but what they have got is Re 1 instead.”
Modi government also found itself under attack from Congress, with political leaders questioning the ‘PR spin’ given the the Jan Dhan yojana. “I have always maintained that #ModiSarkar is like a One-Trick Pony,and that is PR spin. After GDP, LPG, now #JDYScam,” Sanjay Jha tweeted. Randeep S Surjewala of Congress said, “GDP is fudged,LPG subsidy is exaggerated & Jan Dhan accounts are a 1 Rupee trick. Modiji,time to move beyond Jumlas.” The official Twitter account of Maharashtra Congress tweeted, “A quintessential subterfuge. How shamefully touted schemes like #JanDhan are given window dressing to look good.”
The Indian Express report said that since a large number of zero-balance accounts would have meant that people are not benefitting from the Jan Dhan scheme, as many as 20 branch managers and officials, on the condition that they not be identified, said that there is “pressure” on them to show that zero-balance accounts are falling in number. As per RTI information provided, 18 public sector banks and their 16 regional rural subsidiaries held 1.05 crore Jan Dhan accounts with deposits of Re 1.