Bank mitras role under lens in Jan Dhan push
While the government said that the number of zero balance accounts reduced drastically, news reports in September suggested that R1 was deposited in several accounts to show that these were operational and active.business Updated: Oct 25, 2016 12:14 IST
The role of ‘bank mitras’, who played a big role in chalking out the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, has come under the scanner, in the wake of the alleged fraud relating to the scheme. A report sent to the finance ministry by public sector lenders on the issue suggested that several bank mitras deposited R1 into these accounts to push more individuals into opening accounts and keep them active.
There are 1.26 lakh bank mitras in India.
A bank mitra works like an agent, bringing banking activities to the doorsteps of many individuals, especially those who are unbanked. Retired army personnel, government officials or teachers can work as bank mitras. Public sector banks have been engaging thousands of bank mitras to help unbanked individuals come under the formal banking net. Bank mitras get a fixed remuneration package from banks along with incentives, depending on their performance. The package varies from bank to bank.
While the government said that the number of zero balance accounts reduced drastically, news reports in September suggested that R1 was deposited in several accounts to show that these were operational and active.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who held a review meeting with public sector banks on September 16, sought a report from banks on the issue.
“The report has come..it suggests that some bank mitras have deposited R1 in these accounts, we will take steps to ensure that this does not happen,” GC Murmu, additional secretary, department of financial services of the finance ministry, told HT. “The banks are not in any way directly involved in this.”
Over 25 crore accounts have been opened under PMJDY and a total deposit of R44,480 crore have come into these accounts.
“We will ask banks to do the needful and ensure that this (kind of a situation) does not repeat. But this also does not mean that the scheme is faulty... after all in such a short time period, the government has managed to bring all Indian households under the formal banking net,” said another senior government official, who did not wish to be identified.