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Jan Dhan benefits of RuPay, insurance also for Cooperative Bank accounts: Finance Ministry

Gyanendra Keshri, Executive Editor, INCLUSION

G S Sandhu, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, at the 37th Skoch Summit in New Delhi.

The benefits of RuPay Debit cards, insurance and overdraft facilities associated with accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) will also be applicable for Cooperative Banks accounts opened under the scheme, according to top Finance Ministry officials.

Addressing a Conference on Jan Dhan organised here by Skoch Group, a Delhi-based think tank, Anurag Jain, Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services, clarified that all the benefits associated with PMJDY will also be applicable for the accounts opened by Cooperative Banks.

This important clarification from the top official of the Finance Ministry came amid a series of media reports on the prevailing ambiguity surrounding the scheme. He also clarified that the benefits will be extended to those having no-frills accounts already, requesting such account holders not to rush for opening another account under PMJDY.

Jain, who is also the Mission Director of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, said: “ The Mission is not account centric. We wish to head towards a cashless society and the Yojna will be helpful  in meeting this challenge.  So far, leakages in disbursement of subsidy especially PDS and LPG went upto Rs 1 lakh crore but with introduction of DBT, says Planning Commission, we have saved Rs 7,000 crore from leakages.”

G S Sandhu, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, said a group of individuals under the Self Help Groups (SHGs) would also be entitled for overdraft facilities associated with the Jan Dhan accounts. This will be a very useful facility for Self Help Groups. If the Group has say for example 100 members, it will be entitled for an overdraft facility of Rs 5 lakh, a substantial amount to support a small business. 

On remuneration to the business correspondent (BC) or Bank Mitras, Sandhu said BCs are very important for the success of the scheme and would be fairly compensated. According to Sandhu, Bank Mitras would get a fixed remuneration of Rs 5,000 per month plus a fixed working capital and other facilities to run the business.   

This was the first major conference on Jan Dhan after its launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28th August 2014. The scheme targets to provide a bank account for every un-banked household by 26th January 2015. At the time of the launch of the scheme on 28th August 2014, over 75 million households out of a total nearly 250 million did not have access to any banking services. This means, at least 75 million new bank accounts have to be opened between 28th August 2014 and 26th January 2015, i.e. in less than five months.

According to Sandhu, more than four crore accounts have been opened so far under the Jan Dhan scheme.

Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the PMJDY is an effective scheme of the government to empower all and bring those people into mainstream who have been left out so far.

“However, it is necessary to include the weakest first. Among them women, Schedule Tribes, Schedule Castes should be given top priority for financial inclusion and literacy,” she said.

“Though we are facing some challenges with regard to role, responsibilties and renumeration of business correspondent, penetration of technologies in remote areas, lack of literacy and awareness, however, we are hopeful that all concerned government departments will sort out these problems with better coordination to make the scheme a grand success,” Joshi added.

Each account opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is supposed to come with a RuPay debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh. An overdraft facility of upto Rs 5,000 will be permitted to Aadhaar-enabled accounts after satisfactory operation in the account for 6 months. Further an additional life insurance cover of Rs 30,000 will be provided for those opening the accounts before 26th January 2015.

(Gyanendra Keshri can be reached at gyanendra@skoch.in)

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