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Monday, November 10, 2014

5 crore Jan Dhan accounts outside Rs 1 lakh accident insurance ambit

Five crore of the seven crore bank accounts opened under the government's flagship financial inclusion programme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), have fallen outside the ambit of the in-built Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover as these accounts have seen no transaction since they were opened.

Bankers and insurance industry executives say rules require at least one transaction in the account in the preceding 45 days for an account holder to be eligible for the insurance cover. But of the seven crore accounts opened under the scheme, only 1.71 crore accounts have seen transactions while the rest have had zero balance since they were opened, which means there have been no transactions in these accounts.

PMJDY, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 28, seeks to cover 7.5 crore un-banked households in the country in the first phase. It provides Rs 5,000 overdraft facility for Aadhar-linked accounts and RuPay debit card, besides a Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover "If an account holder meets with an accident during the 45 days when there has been no transaction in his account, he is not entitled to the insurance cover," said a senior executive with state-run Vijaya Bank, who is involved in implementing PMJDY.

The executive said most of the account holders seem unaware of the '45-day clause'. "We are trying to explain it to them," he said. National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), which has an agreement with private sector HDFC Ergo to provide this insurance cover, is of the view that the accident insurance should not be looked as a plain vanilla welfare measure. "These are initial days of the scheme and there is no need to get disheartened," said AP Hota, managing director and CEO of NPCI. "Most of these accounts will be soon linked with various direct benefit transfer schemes and then there will be regular transactions."

The government is all set to launch a modified direct benefit transfer for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on a pilot basis in 54 districts across the country. Under the scheme, LPG consumers will be able to get subsidy directly in their bank accounts even if they do not have Aadhaar numbers.

So far, under PMJDY around 32% accounts have been seeded with Aadhaar and around 4 crore have been issued the Rupay debit card.The prime minister had earlier said that a lot of effort will be required in promoting financial literacy among the new account holders. "New accounts also need to be kept alive and properly utilised.

Aadhaar numbers will need to be seeded in bank accounts," he had said.Towards this end, the finance ministry is working on to increase the reach of banks through various models, including banking correspondents to facilitate banking facilities.

Source : Economic Times


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