NEW DELHI: The government’s warning to those who have been using or planning to use the symbol of financial inclusion of the poor — the Jan Dhan accounts – to launder black money appears to have had effect, stemming the flow of deposits that had rung alarm bells.
The income tax department, meanwhile, has identified the clusters and branches where high value deposits have been made and these will be investigated soon, government sources said.
”The IT Department has a clear picture of the Jan Dhan map. There are clusters and bank branches where the deposits have shot up and that’s where the probe is going to start to find if these accounts have been misused, an official said.
There are a total of 25 crore Jan Dhan accounts in India. The total deposit in these accounts since August 2014, before the currency ban announcement, was Rs. 46,000 crore and many of these accounts had been inactive. But within 10 days, deposits worth Rs. 21,000 crore made the government sit up.
On November 18, the government warned that the formerly inactive accounts where these deposits have been made will be scrutinised by the tax department. And those who are allowing misuse of their bank accounts may be prosecuted.
Recently, at a public rally in Moradabad, PM Modi had fired another salvo, saying, ”Those misusing Jan Dhan accounts will be punished. Do not withdraw money deposited by black marketeers”.
The warning appears to have been heard. In the first week after the decision on currency notes was announced, November 8 to 15, the total deposits received in Jan Dhan accounts was Rs.20,206 crore. In the second week, the flow was Rs. 11,347 crore. In the third week, it was reduced to Rs. 4,867 crore. On the first two days of December, the inflow went down to Rs.410 crore and Rs.389 crore respectively.
The deposits had presented a dilemma of sorts, say government sources. Between November 8 and December 2, Rs. 37,000 crore has been deposited in the accounts — the average per account deposit is Rs. 13,113. Some government sources say this is not an alarming amount, given the need to bring cash to banks.