New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has created a record for opening the maximum number of bank accounts in the shortest possible time under the government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme, Jan Dhan Yojana. Today, the Guinness Record authorities officially acknowledged it with a certificate to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
Altogether, 11.5 crore accounts have been opened under Jan Dhan Yojana in less than five months.
The scheme was launched on August 28, 2014, with a target of covering 7.5 crore households till January 26. The target was not just villages, but "every household of every village," the finance minister had said.
Explaining the success of the programme, Mr Jaitley said today, "Earlier, financial inclusion schemes had a limited ceiling of ambition".
The government set a steep target, he said, and it also had a "99% strike rate" on offers to open bank accounts. The state governments too, cooperated in the scheme, contributing to its success, he said.
Those left out now are living in Maoist-affected areas, or places which have poor connectivity, the minister said.
The next challenge before the government is how to make these bank accounts operational, since now, only 28% of the new accounts are in use, he said.
Announced by the Prime Minister during his Independence Day speech and launched soon after, the scheme is a national mission to bring every household under the financial radar.
To start with, the programme envisages universal access to banking facilities. Eventually, it is to be expanded to financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility for the whole population.
The main features of the scheme include Rs. 5,000 overdraft facility for Aadhar-linked accounts, RuPay Debit Card with inbuilt Rs. 1 lakh accident insurance cover. Account holders under the scheme are to get life insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 - an additional benefit announced by the Prime Minister when the scheme was launched.