In its initial years, PMJDY had come in for criticism on the grounds that while it led to the opening of bank accounts for a large number of financially-excluded people, and brought them into the banking fold, many of these accounts are dormant.
Fifty-nine lakh bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have been closed since the launch of the scheme in 2014, Shiv Pratap Shukla, minister of state in the ministry of finance, told the Rajya Sabha. This constitutes about 1.9% of the 31.2 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened till February 28, 2018. Shukla attributed some of the closures to upgradation to other categories of savings accounts, without specifying how many of them have seen such upgrades.“Some of the Jan Dhan accounts are closed due to conversion of Jan Dhan accounts into normal savings account as per request of the account-holder,” the minister said in a written response to a question.
“In some cases, accounts are closed due to account-holder having multiple accounts in his/her name in the same bank, as per the Reserve Bank of India guidelines dated August 10, 2012, applicable to Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) accounts, including Jan-Dhan accounts,” he added.
Of the 31.2 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened till the end of February, 81% are operative. The total amount of balances in all Jan Dhan accounts stood at Rs 75,572.09 crore, Shukla said. In its initial years, PMJDY had come in for criticism on the grounds that while it led to the opening of bank accounts for a large number of financially-excluded people, and brought them into the banking fold, many of these accounts are dormant. There were also reports of bank officials window-dressing such accounts by putting in one rupee in each of them to prevent them from being classified as zero-balance accounts.
This state of affairs was reversed somewhat as a result of the demonetisation exercise, carried out in late 2016. The share of zero-balance accounts in State Bank of India’s (SBI) portfolio of PMJDY accounts dropped to 31% as on March 31, 2017, from 44% in March 2016 and 69% in March 2015.