Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday wrote an article highlighting the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, which has completed three years, saying the combination of the scheme with Aadhaar and the mobile revolution would bring all Indians into the mainstream and would end economic and social exclusion.
“JAM, a term coined, and a vision conceptualized, by our Chief Economic Adviser, is nothing short of a social revolution because it has brought together financial inclusion (PMJDY), biometric identification (Aadhaar) and mobile telecommunications,” Mr. Jaitley wrote.
“Today, about 52.4 crore unique Aadhaar numbers are linked to 73.62 crore accounts in India,” Mr. Jaitley added.
Cushion against shocks
“As a result, the poor are able to make payments electronically,” he added. “Every month now, about seven crore successful payments are made by the poor using their Aadhaar identification.”
“The JAM social revolution offers substantial benefits for government, the economy and especially the poor,” Mr. Jaitley wrote. “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 strengthened because it can transfer resources to citizens faster and more reliably and with less leakage.”
The Finance Minister also added that the government now makes direct transfers worth Rs. 74,000 crore to the financial accounts of 35 crore beneficiaries annually under various government schemes such as PAHAL, MNREGA, old age pensions and student scholarships.
The number of PMJDY accounts opened stood at 29.52 crore as of August 16, up from 12.55 crore in January 2015. The number of rural PMJDY accounts grew from 7.54 crore to 17.64. The number of RuPay cards issued increased from 11.08 crore to 22.71 crore.
The total balance in beneficiary accounts stood at Rs. 65,844.68 crore and the average balance per account increased from Rs. 837 in January 2015 to Rs. 2,231 as of August 16, 2017 and the proportion of zero balance accounts fell from 76.81% in September 2014 to 21.41%.
“As of March 2014, women constituted about 28% of all savings accounts, with 33.69 crore accounts,” Mr. Jaitley wrote. “As of March 2017, according to data from top 40 banks and regional rural banks, women’s share has risen to about 40%. .”