November 24, 2016 2:55:49 am
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts have seen deposits surge almost 30 times by around Rs 21,000 crore in just 14 days since the government’s November 8 announcement on the withdrawal of high-denomination currency notes, government sources said on Wednesday.
According to these estimates, the average weekly deposits in these accounts rose by 3,200 per cent in the two weeks since November 9. Between March 31 and November 9 this year, the weekly deposit average in Jan Dhan accounts was Rs 311 crore, which increased to Rs 10,500 crore in the past two weeks. In effect, it should have taken roughly a year for banks to get the amount of deposits that came in during the past fortnight.
While the amount of deposits that came into accounts in West Bengal and Karnataka — two states, government sources said, have shown a record surge — over the last 14 days was not known, according to latest data updated until November 9, West Bengal had the second highest amount of deposits of Rs 6286.65 crore in Jan Dhan accounts.
Uttar Pradesh topped the deposit list with Rs 7493.50 crore of funds in these accounts and 22.87 per cent zero balance accounts. Karnataka had deposits of Rs 1456.96 crore in Jan Dhan accounts as on November 9. State-wise details beyond November 9 are awaited.
Since the launch of Jan Dhan in August 2014, total deposits into these accounts were Rs 45,636.61 crore as on November 9, 2016 — the day the government’s currency withdrawal decision kicked in. Total deposits in Jan Dhan accounts jumped to Rs 66,636 crore as on November 22.
With less than 10 per cent share in the Jan Dhan network — 2.44 crore out of 25.51 crore accounts — West Bengal already accounted for nearly 14 per cent of the scheme’s total deposits. The average balance in Jan Dhan accounts in West Bengal at Rs 2577.83 was also the third highest among the major states after Punjab (Rs 3400.88) and Haryana (Rs 3084)
The Finance Ministry, officials said, is monitoring the sudden surge into these accounts with some officials saying black money operators could be using these accounts to convert their funds. Jan Dhan accounts have a deposit cap of Rs 50,000 per account. As of November 9, the national average balance in a Jan Dhan account was Rs 1788.85 and the percentage and 23.27% of these accounts were zero-balance accounts.
The Reserve Bank of India had in May warned that these accounts are vulnerable to fraud and identity theft with miscreants using others’ accounts to convert their illegal wealth. Sources said the finance ministry has advised banks to ensure that the Jan Dhan accounts strictly comply with the KYC (know your customer) norms.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said last week that the government was looking into sudden “popping up” of money into zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts. “We are getting some complaints that suddenly monies have popped up in the Jan Dhan accounts, so there is a misuse and that is why the rationing in initial days takes place,” he had said.
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