The government plans a mega launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 28, which is likely to see opening of one crore bank accounts on the first day itself.
As many as 76 mega functions are being organised at different places to mark the launch of the scheme, under which the new account holders will be provided RuPay debit cards with an inbuilt insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.
The Prime Minister has already sent 7.25 lakh emails to bank officers informing them about the financial inclusion scheme PMJDY, which he had announced in his Independence Day address to the nation.
Public sector banks, according to an official release, will organise more than 60,000 camps in rural and urban areas on the launch day. "It is estimated that about one crore accounts will be opened on this day. These camps will be successful because preparatory camps have already been organised in order to get the required information from the new account openers," the statement said.
The mega functions to be organised by state capitals and major district headquarters will be attended by Union Ministers and state Chief Ministers.
The PMJDY has been conceived as a national mission on financial inclusion with the objective of covering all households in the country with banking facilities and having a bank account for each household.
"All the banks have started preparatory work and the mega camp will be held on August 28," Financial Services Secretary G S Sandhu told PTI. The scheme, pushed by the government in a mission mode, seeks to provide two accounts to 7.5 crore identified households by August 2018.
The main features of the PMJDY scheme include Rs 5,000 overdraft facility for Aadhar-linked accounts, RuPay Debit Card with inbuilt Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover and minimum monthly renumeration of Rs 5,000 to business correspondents who will provide the last link between the account holders and the bank.
The first phase of the mission, starting this month, would end in August next year. The second phase will start from 2015 till 2018, covering aspects such as micro insurance and pension schemes like 'Swavalamban'.
The new scheme is an improvement over the UPA's financial inclusion programme. The earlier scheme had no focus on households and no emphasis was given on urban financial inclusion, according to some experts. Besides, they maintained that there was a cumbersome Know Your Customer formality, restricting account opening.
Other deficiencies cited included lack of credit disbursement and 47 per cent of business correspondents being untraceable, resulting in inactive accounts. The new scheme has tried to address all the possible deficiencies and its monitoring would be done at state and district levels.
The 'mission mode' approach has been envisaged with the Finance Minister as head of the mission. The mission will have five different levels for overseeing the implementation of the programme -- three with the Centre and two with state governments.
The programme assumes importance as 42 per cent of the population is still out of the formal banking system, and has to depend on money lenders for meeting their credit needs.
The present banking network of the country comprises of a bank branch network of 1,15,082 and an ATM network of 1,60,055. Of these, 43,962 branches (38.2 per cent) and 23,334 ATMs (14.58 per cent) are in rural areas.