PMís bank accounts programme creates Guinness record

11.5 crore accounts have been opened under the programme in less than five months

shishir

Shishir Tripathi | January 20, 2015 | New Delhi



Governments usually do not compete for record books but if a record is created it can be celebrated. The Narendra Modi government, which is yet to complete one year in office, has earned Guinness Book of World Records entry for opening the maximum number of bank accounts in the shortest possible time under the government's flagship financial inclusion scheme, Jan Dhan Yojana.

In its citation presented to finance secretary Hansmukh Adhia, the Guinness Book said: "Most bank accounts opened in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign is 18,096,130 and was achieved by the Department of Financial Services, Government of India from August 23 to 29, 2014. On Tuesday, the Guinness Record authorities officially acknowledged it with a certificate to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Altogether, 11.5 crore accounts have been opened under Jan Dhan Yojana in less than five months. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has exceeded the enhanced target of 10 crore and covering 99.74 per cent of households,

"Most of India today is included in the banking system," Jaitley said. More than Rs 9,000 crore has been deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts.  The programme envisages universal access to banking facilities. Eventually, it is to be expanded to financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility for the whole population.

On the issue of non-operational accounts, he said that direct benefit transfer will make sure that non-operational accounts are made opeartive in coming times.

The main features of the scheme include Rs 5,000 overdraft facility for Aadhar-linked accounts, RuPay Debit Card with inbuilt Rs. 1 lakh accident insurance cover. Account holders under the scheme are to get life insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 - an additional benefit announced by the Prime Minister when the scheme was launched.

The government set a steep target, Jaitley said, and it also had a "99% strike rate" on offers to open bank accounts. The state governments too, cooperated in the scheme, contributing to its success, he said.

Those left out now are living in Maoist-affected areas, or places which have poor connectivity, the minister said.

The next challenge before the government is how to make these bank accounts operational, since now, only 28% of the new accounts are in use, he said.

Announced by the Prime Minister during his Independence Day speech and launched soon after, the scheme is a national mission to bring every household under the financial radar.

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