The banking sector has opened over three crore accounts in rural India as part of their financial inclusion drive. Compared to the number of rural households in the country of over 22 crore this is about 13 per cent.
The government data upto March 31, 2012 also shows the extent to which the banking sector has to stretch to make the Aadhaar programme a success.
The Aadhaar roll out of cash transfer will mean government benefits will accrue to the poor directly in their bank accounts, instead of being mediated through the leaky district administrations.
In 51 districts the centre plans to start the Aadhaar based transfer begin from January 1, but keeping these banking numbers in perspective, urban and semi-urban areas have got preponderance in the first list.
The data also shows the government has been fairly successful in making the roll out of the rural bank accounts spread out across the country. The 3.16 crore bank accounts are however a record of sorts globally for the number of rural people who have been tapped.
The Aadhaar scheme as originally envisaged had planned to staple a bank account with the number. Every person who got an account was supposed to automatically get a bank account too, but the Reserve Bank of India has opposed this move.
It has said this would lead to drop in the due diligence that is required before opening an account. Instead it has asked the banks to be more liberal wherein they can use an Aadhaar card as the identification basis for opening an account.
As per the finance ministry data the maximum number of financial inclusion accounts have been opened in Uttar Pradesh, followed by West Bengal. As the chart shows Andhra Pradesh and Bihar follow them in that order.
The data pertains to the public sector banks but the private sector too has got interested in these accounts.