Mumbai: The government’s flagship financial inclusion programme, the Jan-Dhan Yojana, has not only helped double the number of basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) accounts to 540 million in three years, but also led to a sharp increase in the number of women account holders, according to the second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17 released on Friday.

BSBD accounts were introduced by the government in 2005. Women account holders as a percentage of the total stood at 40% at the end of March, or 436.5 million accounts, compared to 28% in March 2015, the economic survey said.

The total number of savings bank accounts in India was 1.09 billion at the end of March.

In July 2014, there were 255.4 million BSBD accounts. After the launch of the Jan Dhan scheme, the number of BSBD accounts rose rapidly to 540 million by March 2017.

The survey stressed that effective financial inclusion should be reflected not only in terms of access but in the use of financial services as well.

The average balance in the accounts opened under Jan Dhan increased from Rs1,065 per account in March 2015 to Rs2,236 in March 2017, according to the survey.

The number of rural accounts opened under the Jan-Dhan scheme increased from 80 million in August 2015 to 172 million in May 2017.

“Use of accounts in terms of both deposits and transactions through BC (business correspondent) outlets has registered impressive growth, which has positive consequences for the viability of and the continued growth of the BC network," the survey said.

Business correspondents provide last-mile connectivity between banks and rural customers.