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With 11.5 crore accounts, Jan Dhan bags Guinness Record

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 20, 2015 21:25 IST
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Jan DhanAs many as 11.5 crore (115 million) bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, exceeding the enhanced target of 10 crore (100 million) and covering 99.74 per cent of households, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

"Most of India today is included in the banking system," he said, adding that more than Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion) has been deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the financial inclusion scheme in his first Independence Day speech last year.

It was launched in August with a target to open bank accounts for 7.5 crore (75 million) poor people by January 26, 2015.

The target was later increased to 10 crore (Rs 100 million) accounts.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Jaitley said the government would use these bank accounts to pass on benefits to individuals under its various social security schemes.

Financial Services Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that even Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the achievements made under PMJDY.

In its citation, 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."

A record 11.5 crore bank accounts have been opened in just over four months under the Jan Dhan Yojana, covering 99.74 per cent of households and setting the stage for a major transformation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

"The success of PMJDY sets the stage for a major transformation for the people & will enhance India's progress," Modi tweeted, while describing the scheme a "unprecedented success".

Earlier, addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said "most of India today is included in the banking system" and more than Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion) has been deposited in the newly opened Jan Dhan accounts.

Announcing the financial inclusion scheme in his first Independence Day speech last year, Modi had set a target to open bank accounts for 7.5 crore poor persons by January 26, 2015.

The target was later increased to 10 crore accounts.

The unprecedented success of the scheme is a matter of pride for the entire Nation, Modi said, adding, "We embarked on PMJDY with an aim to integrate the poor with our financial system. The comprehensive extent of its coverage is gladdening!".

Jaitley said the government would use these bank accounts to pass on benefits to individuals under its various social security schemes.

Financial Services Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that even Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the achievements made under PMJDY.

In its citation, 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."

Jaitley said that out of the 11.5 crore accounts opened till January 17, 60 per cent are in the rural areas and 40 per cent in the urban areas.

Share of female account holders is about 51 per cent.

He said that RuPay cards have been issued to more than 10 crore beneficiaries who will get a benefit of personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 lakh besides a life insurance cover of Rs 30,000 for eligible beneficiaries.

Describing the scheme as "a game changer", the minister said that it would provide the platform for Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) and help check leakages in subsidies.

Observing that the earlier campaign on financial inclusion started in 2011 had a limited objective, he said that under the PMJDY, households were targeted instead of only villages.

The UPA government's financial inclusion scheme sought to cover villages with population of 2,000 or more with banking services.

Overall, public sector banks alone opened 9.11 crore accounts under PMJDY, followed by regional rural banks which opened about 2.01 crore accounts.

On the other hand, 13 private sector banks together open just 37.58 lakh accounts. On the future of the scheme after January 26, Jaitley said the government will take a view on it later.

According to Adhia, all these accounts are being used for payment of wages under the MNREGA scheme and LPG subsidy.

More than Rs 33,000 crore towards MNREGA, LPG and other benefits will be routed through the bank accounts annually.

On the future of the scheme after January 26, Jaitley said the government will take a view on it later.

The issuance of the RuPay cards to account holders would encourage use of plastic money and help in moving towards a cashless society, Jaitley said.

Jaitley said that most of the country has been covered by the PMJDY, except those areas which have poor connectivity, are impacted by left-wing extremist and are inaccessible.

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