Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Jan Dhan Yojana was required to correct anomalies created by nationalisation of banks four decades ago as banking benefits did not reach the poor.
"When banks were nationalised about 40 years ago, the government of those days said that these financial institutions were thriving on the money of the wealthy class and had nothing to offer to the poor", he said.
"Four decades have passed since then and when we came to power earlier this year, banks remained as inaccessible to the poor as ever," he said while addressing a meeting of BJP workers in Varanasi.
"It is this anomaly that we have sought to correct through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. The scheme is enabling the poorest of the poor to have a bank account of his or her own. As a result of this scheme, today the number of bank accounts being opened every week is equal to the number of accounts that were opened in one year previously," he said.
The Prime Minister on August 28 launched the the Jan Dhan scheme to boost financial inclusion. About 7 crore bank accounts have been opened under Jan Dhan scheme so far.
"We had given the option of opening zero balance accounts.
But I must salute the honesty of our people who have deposited a total of Rs 5,000 crore from a share of their hard-earned money in the accounts that have so far been opened under this scheme," Modi said.
Under the scheme, the account holders will get an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000. They would also be provided with a RuPay debit cards and Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover.
Seeking to underscore his government's pro-poor measures, the Prime Minister also said: "We have laid it down that no pensioner should get less than Rs 1,000 per month as pension.
Earlier, it used to be ridiculously low. Some were getting as little as Rs 50 per month.
"As a result, many people did not even care to visit the post office and collect their pension as their entitlement used to be less than even the auto rickshaw fare."
Subscribers to the retirement fund EPFO will get a minimum of Rs 1,000 under Employees' Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS-95) as the government formally launched the programme in September.
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