At least, 5.3 crore of the total 7.1 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have 'zero balance' even as the government has deposited Rs 5,400 crore in accounts under the scheme. The scheme, launched by the Narendra Modi government, focusses on coverage of households as against the earlier plan which focussed on coverage of villages.
According to figures provided by the finance ministry in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query, out of 7.1 crore bank accounts opened, 5.3 crore had zero balance as on November 7. This clearly reflects the level of poverty in the country as people do not enough money to spare for opening a bank account. Public sector banks normally ask for minimum Rs 1,000 as a mandatory deposit which has to be maintained to retain the account. In the case of private sector banks, the minimum sum is much higher at Rs 10,000.
PMJDY is a national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services like banking, savings and deposit accounts besides credit, insurance and pension.
Under the scheme, on opening a bank account, the holders will be eligible for an overdraft facility of Rs 2,000 which can be extended up to Rs 5,000 based on the consumer's credit and transaction history. An overdraft facility up to Rs 5,000 would be available to one account holder per household after six months of satisfactory conduct of the account.
The reply, provided to activist Subhash Agrawal, said that as on November 7, the total balance in these accounts was Rs 5,482 crore. Majority of these accounts, over 4.2 crore, have been opened in rural areas, and 2.9 crore in urban India. Modi announced the scheme on Independence Day. The target was to open 7.5 crore accounts by January 26, 2015. But this has been done much before the deadline with active participation of public sector banks.
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