Jan Dhan Scheme Initiated Financial Inclusion And Unleashed A JAM revolution, Says Jaitley

Arun Jaitley addressing a meeting. (GettyImages)

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) on the completion of its three years.

The PMJDY and the other schemes were not only the first step towards financial inclusion and providing security to the poor, but these initiatives also unleashed the “JAM” (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) revolution, Jaitley said on his blog.

JAM, a term coined, and a vision conceptualised, by our Chief Economic Adviser, is nothing short of a social revolution, because it has brought together financial inclusion (PMJDY), biometric identification (Aadhar) and mobile telecommunications. Today, about 52.4 crore unique Aadhar numbers are linked to 73.62 crore accounts in India, the Union Finance Minister said. As a result, the poor are able to make payments electronically. Every month now, about seven crore successful payments are made by the poor using their Aadhar identification.

The Finance Minister has listed the achievements in these three years:

1. Total PMJDY accounts opened increased from 12.55 crore in January 2015 to 29.52 crore as of 16 August 2017.

2. The number of rural accounts opened under the PMJDY has grown from 7.54 crore in January 2015 to 17.64 crore as of 16 August 2017.

3. Number of RuPay cards issued increased from 11.08 crore in January 2015 to 22.71 crore as of 16 August 2017.

4. The total balance in beneficiary accounts is Rs 65,844.68 crore and the average balance per account increased from Rs 837 in January 2015 to Rs 2,231 as of 16 August 2017.

5. Zero balance accounts under the PMJDY declined from 76.81 per cent in September 2014 to 21.41 per cent in August 2017.

6. As of March 2014, women constituted about 28 per cent of all savings accounts, with 33.69 crore accounts. As of March 2017, according to data from top 40 banks and RRBs, women’s share has risen to about 40 per cent. This includes 14.49 crore accounts opened by women under the PMJDY, out of a total of 43.65 crore women’s accounts. This represents a sizeable and rapid growth in financial inclusion of women.

Jaitley also said that the government has taken steps to provide security to the poor via life insurance under the PMJJBY and the accident insurance Pradhan Mantra Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).

According to data given by Jaitley on 7 August, the total enrollment was 3.46 crore under the PMJJBY and 10.96 crore under PMSBY. In both schemes, close to 40 per cent of those enrolled are women.

The entire network created by the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has also enabled implementation of the Mudra Yojana.

As on 18 August this year, Rs 3.66 lakh crore have been distributed to 8.77 crore beneficiaries.

Above all, the government now makes direct transfer of Rs 74,000 crore to the financial accounts of 35 crore beneficiaries annually, at more than Rs 6,000 crore per month. These transfers are made under various government anti-poverty and support schemes such as Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh (PAHL), (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) MNREGA, old age pensions, student scholarships etc.

Now, with the BHIM app and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the JAM can become fully operational. A secure and seamless digital payments infrastructure has been created so that all Indians, especially the poor can become part of the digital mainstream, Jaitley said.

"The JAM social revolution offers substantial benefits for the government, the economy and especially the poor. The poor will have access to financial services and be cushioned against life’s major shocks. Government finances will be improved because of the reduced subsidy burden; at the same time, government will also be legitimised and strengthened because it can transfer resources to citizens faster and more reliably and with less leakage," Jaitley added.

"Within reach of the country is what might be called the 1 billion-1 billion-1 billion vision. That is 1 billion unique Aadhaar numbers linked to 1 billion bank accounts and 1 billion mobile phones. Once that is done, all of India can become part of the financial and digital mainstream."

"Just as the Goods and Service Tax (GST) created one tax, one market, one India, the PMJDY and the JAM revolution can link all Indians into one common financial, economic, and digital space. No Indian will be outside the mainstream. This is nothing short of a social revolution," Jaitley concluded. (ANI)

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