Jan Dhan Yojana: Nearly 18% or 81.38mn Bank Accounts Are Inoperative, Says Govt
Moneylife Digital Team 04 August 2022
Launched amidst much fanfare in 2014 with a catchy slogan of "Mera Khata, Bhagya Vidhata" (my account, fate restorer), the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) still has nearly 18% of bank accounts that are inoperative, the Rajya Sabha was informed.
In a written reply, Dr Bhagwat Karad, minister of state for finance, told the upper house that "...the percentage of operative PMJDY accounts has increased to 82.35% in June 2022 from 60.38% in March 2017. During the corresponding period, the deposit balance in PMJDY accounts has increased to Rs1,69,879 crore from Rs62,972 crore."
According to the information shared by the minister, the total number of Jan-Dhan accounts opened up to December 2019 was 377.6mn (million), out of which 68.8mn were inoperative.
However, data from the PM Jan-Dhan Yojana portal shows that as of 27 July 2022, 461.1mn beneficiaries have bank accounts under the scheme. The portal also shows that these accounts have a balance of Rs171,616.70 crore. 
Considering the latest figures shown on the PMJDY portal and information provided in the Rajya Sabha, out of the 461.1mn Jan-Dhan accounts, 17.65% or 81.38mn accounts are inactive. 
KTS Tulsi, a member of Parliament (MP), has asked about the total number of Jan-Dhan accounts opened by the Union government between 2014-2019 and the number of accounts lying inoperative. 
As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines issued on 18 February 2009, a savings account should be treated as inoperative or dormant if there are no transactions in the account for over two years.
As reported by Moneylife in 2021, the know-your-customer (KYC) freeze on the Jan-Dhan account has been destroying the lives of the poor. Jean Dreze who has spent decades working with India's poorest people, was quoted in the article as saying, "Perhaps the biggest injustice that has been done in this domain is the freezing of accounts of  elderly, widowed or disabled persons for lack of KYC or e-KYC. For many of them, it is really difficult to meet the ever-tightening requirements." (Read: How KYC Freeze of the Jan-Dhan Account-holders Is Destroying the Lives of the Poor)
Dr Karad, the minister, told the Rajya Sabha that "RBI has advised financial literacy centres (FLCs) and rural branches of banks to conduct outdoor financial literacy camps for customers in collaboration with ground level stakeholders at the district, panchayat and village level. Further, a strong network of about 518,000 business correspondents (BCs), representing the last mile connect in the banking services delivery system is also creating awareness while facilitating transactions in the rural areas because of their familiarity with the local and rural population."
Coming back to the PMJDY portal, it shows that as of 27 July 2022, there were 307.8mn beneficiaries from rural and semi-urban areas and 153.3mn beneficiaries from urban and metro areas. Out of the total 461.1mn beneficiaries, 256.4mn are female beneficiaries who have Jan-Dhan bank accounts.
While every Jan-Dhan bank account-holder was supposed to receive a RuPay debit card, data from the portal shows only 319mn beneficiaries have been issued these debit cards.
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