Finance Ministry on September 14 said that it will ascertain facts with regard to instances of bankers depositing small amounts in the Jan Dhan accounts to reduce the number of zero balance accounts. Observing that there was no requirement of minimum balance in the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts, the Ministry said “in view of the specific instances mentioned (in a media report), facts are being ascertained to assess if there has been any misunderstanding at the branch level of the objectives of the scheme.”
A section of media in a report cited specific instances where Re one or more was deposited by bankers themselves to bring down the number of zero balance accounts.
In a release, it said it needs to be appreciated that since the absence of balance in PMJDY accounts in no way diminishes the benefits associated with these accounts, there is no requirement of even a small balance in the accounts.
The PMJDY, it said, continues to be a robust scheme which provides benefits even when there is no balance in the accounts.
“Government remains committed to adding value to the PMJDY by routing benefits directly into bank accounts under various schemes.”
Over 24 crore PMJDY accounts have been opened and they have a total balance of more than Rs 42,000 crore.
In December 2014, 10.45 crore PMJDY accounts had deposits of Rs 8,353 crore, the release said, adding “the deposits have been rising steadily during this period.”
PMJDY, the flagship financial inclusion scheme of the government, aims to provide financial services, deposit accounts, remittances, credit and accident insurance to everyone.
It also seeks to inculcate a widespread banking habit and create credit histories of account holders, thereby facilitating them to access overdraft/credit from banks.
The government, the release said, is committed to effect direct benefit transfers for which PMJDY accounts are essential in view of their outreach.