PM Narendra Modi launches Jan Dhan Yojana; to focus on combating financial untouchability

In his speech, PM Modi said that opening bank accounts is a step towards joining economic mainstream.

By: Express News Service | Updated: August 28, 2014 9:50 pm
The series will begin with the Finance Ministry. (Source: PTI photo) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched his brainchild the Jan Dhan Yojana Scheme. (Source: PTI photo)

Launching his government’s first big ticket social welfare programme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave a call for eradicating what he termed as “financial untouchability” of the poor by opening at least one bank account for every family in the country in less than six months.

This essentially means opening a whopping 7.5 crore bank accounts, the process for which was kickstarted on Thursday with 1.5 crore accounts — 50 lakh over the intended target on inaugural day. As per government figures, around 10 crore families do not have a bank account.

“If crores of Indians are outside the ambit of organised financial services because they do not have a bank account even after 68 years of independence, I call it financial untouchability. Gandhiji ended social untouchability, it is our mission to eradicate this kind of untouchability now to fight poverty,” Modi said after launching the programme.

While the initial aim was to include every beneficiary in the programme within one year, the deadline was advanced as Modi, who announced the scheme in his Independence Day speech at Red Fort, expressed his desire for the process to be concluded by the next Republic Day.

“Banks were nationalised in 1969 after weaving a lot of dreams before the country. We were told that this would benefit the poor. But I regret to say that in reality, even after 68 years of independence, not even 68 per cent of the population is covered by the banking system. This is also a form of untouchability,” said Modi.

The Jan Dhan Yojana provides for a free zero-balance bank account with a debit card, Rs 1 lakh accidental insurance policy and Rs 30,000 free medical insurance cover for those who enroll before January 26. Depending on the performance of the accounts in the first six months, banks will later extend a Rs 5,000 overdraft facility, thereby turning the debit card into a kind of credit card.

The debit card is being issued by RuPay of the National Payments Corporation of India. Modi said a mammoth initiative like this would go a long way in granting global acceptance to the RuPay brand, in line with international retail credit giants like Visa and others.

In the subsequent phases of the programme, the Indian postal department’s network will also be roped in to provide banking services in the remote areas. The system will also become a channel for remitting micro pension.

“Banks queue up at the houses of the rich to extend loans at cheaper rates. Nothing’s wrong with that. It’s business. But they do not extend the same courtesy to the poor. So the poor take loans from rich money-lenders at five times the market rate. Many poor farmers fail to repay because the loan is so expensive and then some of them commit suicide when all is lost. This is a vicious cycle. This programme is the first step towards breaking that cycle,” Modi said.

Over 77,000 camps were held across India to open bank accounts. The scheme was simultaneously launched at multiple places by Chief Ministers, several Union Ministers, including Information Minister Prakash Javadekar at Pune, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at Chennai, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at Bhopal, Home Minister Rajnath Singh at Lucknow and HRD Minister Smriti Irani at Surat.

Modi said he had sent emails to each of the 7.5 lakh employees of public sector banks, urging them to get into a “mission mode” to make this drive a success. “Never in the history of Indian banks or even insurance companies have 1.5 crore people been insured or accounts opened in one single day. It is a record. This shows that if we have faith in our abilities and set a time-bound objective, this country can achieve whatever it wants,” said Modi, amid applause from an audience that comprised mostly bank employees, chiefs of all public sector and other major private banks and bigwigs of the financial sector.

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  1. C
    CHAITRA.C
    Jan 16, 2017 at 4:21 am
    YEH GOOD
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    1. s
      s.subahan
      Mar 23, 2017 at 1:38 pm
      kab dega bhi loan
      Reply
      1. S
        Santhosh kumar
        May 11, 2015 at 11:12 pm
        Good
        Reply
        1. S
          shaphiqul islam
          Feb 9, 2015 at 2:04 pm
          sir mera ak loan cheya.
          Reply
          1. A
            Anuradha Kalhan
            Aug 29, 2014 at 2:57 am
            What is going on? How will banks manage so many new accounts without due identification process, and without adequate staff! How will this help the poor without a livelihood scheme to match! India already has a NULM and NRLM to link women to banks through SHGs. Why not strengthen that?
            Reply
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              anurag
              Aug 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm
              Criticism is part and parcel of Democracy always welcome but constructive criticism..Whats wrong in being a Bank Account holder just coz they are poor, undoubtedly its going to be burden for Bank employees, let them(Bank Companies) hire more to keep in check and balance their services.those feels its unsafe for them mind nothing is impossible all we need is willing mind. let one person have one ideny card valid throughout the length and breadth of the country and everyone should be well acknowledged so that nowhere in no case one can say this ID is of xyz place not acceptable here and so on.
              Reply
              1. O
                OpinionatedOrator
                Aug 28, 2014 at 9:15 pm
                I fully support this side of Modi, but what I can't support are his fanatic religious followers feeling emboldened his victory and showing early signs of communal majoritarianism
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                1. N
                  N K
                  Aug 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm
                  Good move in this computer age and let the rich corporate big wigs give space for rest of India to avail government schemes without middle men.It is only people like Subrata Roy,Vijay Malya and ilk who are shameless defaulters and not the low income groups.
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    Parso Sukheja
                    Aug 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm
                    Great idea, but costly on exchequer , will affect bank's service quality and profitability, enhance unremunerative work. Private sector banks will prosper, to keep share holders interest it will be better for the government to open new bank for implementing financial agenda or use post office savings account.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Radhakrishnan Radhakrishnan
                      Aug 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm
                      Very good move by modiji. This will definitly help poor from the clutches of money lenders.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        ruchie
                        Sep 23, 2014 at 5:45 am
                        i would just like to ask how it is possible to recover loans when the person who has come to open the account lives in jhuggis/slums dont even have any address leave aside an address proof??? would it not add to the existing financial burden that we already faced with??
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          sacchadesi
                          Aug 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm
                          How about getting them jobs instead of look like being a dalal of banking lobbies? There are many rich people in west who do not have bank accounts because banks squeeze money out of them for every thing, every transaction of even keeping a debit card (not just credit card). He is diverting from main thing again because he know he cannot keep his promise of jobs, so divert the media attention to other hi-fi things. Good in giving names but bad on execution - et tu Modi ji?
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            sacchadesi
                            Aug 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm
                            I agree! But Indians in villages have had bank accounts too and that hasn't changed into prosperity for most of them. I agree not all villages have that but my point is, its not a criteria of getting rid of poverty.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sid
                              Aug 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm
                              Having financial inclusion is the first step to moving towards poverty eradication. When you are stuffing your savings in the rice jar as opposed to a bank savings account, your wealth remains stagnant overtime.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                munish anand
                                Sep 13, 2014 at 7:05 am
                                I personally think this is a good and a dabang move by Modi jee . just can't say exactly how many poor will be benifited by the scheme, but definitely it's a wonderful move.
                                Reply
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                                  Subhash Bhagwat
                                  Aug 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm
                                  As was expected, some people are criticizing the move and demanding that Mr. Modi "provide jobs", as if the PM of any party can do this and do it in three months. The Congress dynasty did not manage it in sixty years! Talking about westerners who do not have bank accounts is really diverting attention from what India really needs. If some in the west have no bank accounts it is because they are too rich to need them. In India most are too poor to have them. They depend on money lenders who ultimately enslave them. It is in fact a brilliant first step to provide access to banks, overdrafts and life insurance. Mr.Modi is the real Desi PM!
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    Vengrai
                                    Aug 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm
                                    Mr.Modi is a man of action, dynamic action.He has ideas and the courage togive practical shape to those ideas. He is out to transform India and bring her tothe forefront. More power to his elbow! Sathya Pararth San Diego/Chennai
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                                      Citizen
                                      Sep 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm
                                      It is not difficult to track people with modern high tech devices when we have proper bio identification on the ID card and a national data base. Jaihind
                                      Reply
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                                        Citizen
                                        Aug 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm
                                        This one along with one ID are most essential to keep track of all aspects and make it easy to obtain loans, recover loans, travel and all other benefits. This also is good for nation's security as the individuals can be tracked but rulers should make these things are not abused. Jaihind
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                                          Vijay (kutch)
                                          Aug 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm
                                          Most western countries require ries and business transaction to be via banks. So nearly all rich people on the west have accounts. Money is mostly paperless. Are you telling me that have suitcases of cash in their houses.When I opened an account for our domestic worker. It gave her a tremendous phycological boost. Now she saves some of her money instead of giving it all to her husband.The idea that somehow poor people will default on bad debt is another falsehood. They are not thieves.We need to get over the elitist mentality and see the poor as using this facilities as well.
                                          Reply
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