More than 6 cr Jan Dhan accounts declared inactive

Six crore bank accounts opened under the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana have been declared inoperative by banks due to lack of transactions, finance ministry said today.

The frozen accounts constitute around 19%, or about a fifth, of the total 32 cr Jan Dhan accounts opened under the scheme.

Banks are forced to declare an account non-operational when there is no transaction for two years.

The scheme, unveiled soon after Narendra Modi took over as India’s prime minister in 2014, was aimed at expanding the reach of organized banking and financial services to the masses.

The largest number of such accounts were opened in Uttar Pradesh (4.91 cr), followed by Bihar (3.52 cr) and West Bengal (3.08 cr).

The accounts had a total of Rs 80,094 cr in them, which works out to about Rs 2,490 per account on average.

Excluding the 6 cr inactive accounts, it works out to Rs 3,069 per account.

The average balance is far higher than what even policy makers had expected at the time of launching the scheme. The scheme, targeting the poorest of the poor, was expected to generate average balance of a couple of hundred rupees per account.

There have been allegations that many of these accounts were used by people with untaxed funds for laundering their illicit funds during the time of the demonetization exercise in late 2016.

A total of around Rs 45,000 was deposited in Jan Dhan accounts in the first 45 days of demonetization. Before demonetization, the total money deposited in these accounts was around Rs 42,000 cr.