4 min read.Updated: 11 Jan 2022, 01:12 AM ISTAjit Ranade
Privatization of state-run banks needs extensive debate, given their critical role in meeting our social goals
The Prime Minister announced India’s Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) or National Mission for Financial Inclusion on Independence Day in 2014. A big part of this mission was to open no-frills bank accounts with zero minimum-balance requirements, which would also provide overdraft facilities and insurance cover to account holders. The catchy acronym of a ‘JAM’ trinity (i.e. the linkage of JDY accounts, Aadhaar identities and mobile phone numbers) was coined in the Economic Survey of the following year. This was the key for transferring government subsidies and financial support directly to beneficiaries, with minimum leakage and maximum efficiency. As of the end of 2021, there were a whopping 442 million beneficiary accounts, 295 million of them in rural branches and 147 million in urban centres. Their combined deposits have crossed ₹1.5 trillion, a fact tweeted proudly by the finance minister. The pace at which JDY accounts were opened in the first phase till the end of 2015 was breathtaking.