Despite the fact that a little over one-half of the new bank savings accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme have a zero balance, more than Rs 100 crore have been deposited in the rest of the over 600,000 accounts.
The scheme was launched in the state on August 28 last year. According to the state finance department's letter to the prime minister's office about the status of the scheme, there are about 38 banking service providers, including private, rural and cooperative banks, in Himachal.
Only about 9,000 savings accounts have been opened in private banks, which have a lesser presence in rural areas. Over 73,000 accounts have been opened in urban areas with the rest in rural areas of the state.
“Most households in Himachal have better position in households accessing banking services. We have over 1,850 bank branches across the state and more branches are being opened by banks,” said principal finance secretary Shrikant Baldi, who is state mission director of the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.
Access to banking services can be credited to central government's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme. “To avoid anomalies in NREGA wages payment, all job card holders were told to open bank accounts and wages were directly linked with bank accounts in Himachal Pradesh. The state's performance to cover every person with a bank account has been satisfactory,” a finance department official said.
“Residents of the state are accepting the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme in large numbers and all banks are also focusing on financial literacy among the residents,” said VK Srivastava, general manager of state-owned UCO Bank, which is the convener bank of the state level bankers' committee.
Despite having banking coverage in every nook and corner of the state, Himachal is yet to cover 100% of households under the scheme. Thus far 98.15% of households have been covered under the scheme.
----PMJDY------(status as on December 20)
Rural: 5.29 lakh
With zero balance: 3,10,197
---Bank branch network in hp-
----Per branch population (2011 census)