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(DAY 171) 9 Years of Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana

· 4 min read
Gaurav Parashar

In a country as diverse and populous as India, ensuring financial inclusion for all citizens has been a significant challenge. However, with the introduction of the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) nine years ago, India embarked on a transformative journey towards providing accessible financial services to every corner of the nation. This landmark initiative has not only paved the way for economic empowerment but also spurred development and growth across various sectors.

Importance of Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana

Launched on August 28, 2014, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana aimed to address the issue of financial untouchability and bridge the gap between the rich and the marginalized. The scheme targeted the unbanked and underbanked sections of society, providing them with access to banking facilities, insurance, credit, and pension services.

This initiative holds paramount importance in India's socio-economic landscape. With almost 50 crore bank accounts opened under the scheme totalling deposits of over Rs 2 lakh crores (average balance of ~ Rs 4,000), PMJDY has significantly reduced the number of households without access to formal financial services. The program has also been instrumental in promoting direct benefit transfers, thereby eliminating intermediaries and minimizing leakages.

Rupay: Revolutionizing Debit Card Issuance

A total of ~34 crore debit cards have issued under the scheme. Issuing debit cards to such a massive number of beneficiaries was a logistical challenge that the government addressed effectively through the utilization of the Rupay payment system. Rupay, India's indigenous card payment network, played a pivotal role in this endeavor by offering a cost-effective solution for issuing debit cards. This not only streamlined the process but also promoted financial inclusion in rural and remote areas.

The adoption of Rupay has been instrumental in reducing the dependency on international card networks, resulting in cost savings for the government. The system's security features and compatibility with various digital payment platforms have also encouraged the uptake of cashless transactions among Jan-Dhan account holders.

Impact and Future Prospects

The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana has brought about a sea change in the financial landscape of India. It has empowered women, farmers, and the economically weaker sections by enabling them to access formal credit and savings mechanisms. Additionally, it has facilitated the dissemination of government subsidies, pensions, and relief funds directly to beneficiaries, thus reducing corruption and leakages.

Growth in PMJDY

  • PMJDY stands at 50 crore accounts with balance of Rs 2 lakh crore => average balance of Rs 4000.
  • As of 31 Jan 2015, it stood at 12.5 crore accounts with balance of Rs 10k crore => average balance of Rs 800. So from 2015 till 2023, the balance has grown 5 folds.
  • The top 4 participants in PMJDY - i.e. State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India - account for 70% of the accounts and deposits.
  • Monthly average balance is crucial in banking for profitability. Major private banks stand out in PMJDY accounts with average balance of Rs 42k and Rs 30k respectively. It is indeed clear that they have found a way to make PMJDY as profitable as possible.

On another note, I have my banking relationship with HDFC and Axis only - wonder how profitable am I as a client to them? As they say - If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem.

Looking ahead, the program's success story is a testament to the Indian government's commitment to inclusive growth. As technology continues to play a pivotal role, leveraging digital solutions for banking services is expected to drive the next phase of this initiative. The continued integration of Rupay into the digital ecosystem will further expand financial services to the remotest corners of the country.