Banks open 11.5 cr Jan Dhan accounts, Guinness record for Modi's pet scheme

As many as 11.5 crore bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, exceeding the enhanced target of 10 crore and covering 99.74 percent of households, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

"Most of India today is included in the banking system," he said, adding that more than Rs 9,000 crore has been deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts.

Encouraging bank accounts. Reuters

Encouraging bank accounts. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the financial inclusion scheme in his first Independence Day speech last year. It was launched in August with a target to open bank accounts for 7.5 crore poor persons by January 26, 2015. The target was later increased to 10 crore accounts.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Jaitley said the government would use these bank accounts to pass on benefits to individuals under its various social security schemes.

Financial Services Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that even Guinness Book of World Records has recognised the achievements made under PMJDY.

In its citation, the Guinness Book said: "Most bank accounts opened in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign is 18,096,130 and was achieved by the Department of Financial Services, Government of India from August 23 to 29, 2014."

Firstpost was the first to report that the government was is in dialogues with the Guinness World Records team to bag a record for the government for opening maximum number of bank accounts in minimum number of days.

Firstpost's financial editor Dinesh Unnikrishnan had reported citing sources that a global consulting firm is assisting the committee and the government to verify the claim and that once the claim is verified the scheme would enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

According to data available on the PMJDY website, of the total 11.50 crore accounts opened, 8.27 crore or 72 percent of the accounts are zero balance.

These accounts are likely to become active only once the government starts distributing the direct benefits or subsidies through these accounts.

However, the record has comes even as there are doubts about the veracity of the accounts opened as banks in their account opening spree may have overlooked the know your customer norms.

There are also chances that customers may have opened duplicate accounts to pocket the Rs 5,000 overdraft and the insurance cover that are bundled with he accounts.

With inputs from PTI

Published Date: Jan 21, 2015 07:49 AM | Updated Date: Jan 21, 2015 07:49 AM

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