Hyderabad: A response to an RTI query has nailed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim that 80 per cent of the 240 million new accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana were now functional with cash balances. The Union Finance Minister, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Washington, had stated that 80 per cent of these accounts didn’t have money, in the first instance. So, all government programmes — from Central to regional to local bodies which give assistance to the weaker sections — now transfer payments into these accounts. According to the Minister, the payments come from schemes like rural employment guarantee scheme and subsidies on fuel, food and fertilizers. He had also said that Rs 5000 have been deposited in each of the Jan Dhan account. “The government undertook it on a mission mode. The entire banking system, including government banks, coordinated and we were able to bridge the gap substantially,” he added. Raising doubts about the veracity of the claims made by the Finance Minister, the RTI query by M Srinivas revealed that on an average the Jan Dhan account holders in Telangana had received just Rs 1300. The RTI reply made it clear that while some of the private banks had shown little interest in opening the Jan
Dhan accounts, most of them had not opened even a single Jan Dhan account. The banks which did not open any such account include Indus Ind Bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank, Federal Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, South India Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank.Srinivas said according to figures given under the RTI, by July 2016, 79,81,235 accounts were opened and 37,58,734 account holders across the country were provided with overdraft facility. Even, according to these figures only 25 percent of account holders in Telangana had benefitted from the scheme, he said.