Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious financial inclusion plan ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ announced on Independence Day will be based on the previous UPA government’s flagship Aadhaar, with the PM himself having indicated the importance of Aadhaar in rolling out the scheme to officials.
Modi had on August 15 announced a financial inclusion plan to connect the poor to banks, wherein a bank account will be opened for poor households who would also be given a debit card, and an insurance of Rs 1 lakh will be guaranteed for each family.
According to sources, once the plan for this scheme was ready, Modi enquired about the role of Aadhaar and was keen to ensure it forms an integral part of this new scheme. The Jan Dhan Yojana has now been designed in a way wherein its implementation would be based on Aadhaar and would, in some ways, be contingent upon it. Modi, however, steered clear of mentioning Aadhaar during his speech on August 15.
Officials say of the 7.5 crore households to be covered under the scheme, those who already have Aadhaar numbers will be able to open their bank accounts using it as their KYC, while those who don’t, will first be enrolled under Aadhaar by banks. This effectively means Aadhaar could become indispensable to the scheme.
While an account opening in a bank typically takes 2-3 weeks, it can be done far more quickly when Aadhaar is used, officials say. Thus, the use of Aadhaar could help speed up the scheme’s implementation while also eliminating duplication. Sources say Aadhaar is also crucial for the government’s unannounced plan to allow an overdraft facility of up to Rs 5,000 with every bank account after six months so as to ensure no household avails the facility through multiple bank accounts.