Launched with the aim to bring the poor, financially excluded people into the banking system by providing them bank accounts and debit cards, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project “Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)” has become an obstacle for those it intends to help.
The recent restriction of an upper limit of Rs 50,000 for deposits into these accounts has become a big barrier to the government’s own welfare schemes and is also depriving the eligible beneficiaries in getting financial assistance under various welfare schemes.
In Rajasthan’s Barmer area, the government’s upper limit on deposits has increased the problem for thousands of beneficiaries awaiting financial assistance under various welfare schemes which are often more than Rs 50 thousand. As a result, government departments are not able to deposit the amount into the beneficiaries’ account.
Nitish Kumar, General Manager at ‘Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board (BOCWWB)’ in Barmer told HT that in 40 cases when they have released the sanctioned amount to the bank accounts, but the banks have returned it while referring government restrictions on Jan Dhan account.
Chokha Ram (49), a resident of Bakhse Ka Tala village in Barmer who is a registered labuorer with BOCWWB, had married off his daughter about two years back. At that time he applied for a financial assistance of Rs 51 thousand under the ‘Beti Vivah Sahayata Yojana’. After a two-year wait, his request was sanctioned and the department released the amount to his bank account. But the bank returned it citing government restrictions on Jan-Dhan account where deposits of only up to Rs 49 thousand can be made.
The restrictions are also coming in the way of treatment of patients.
Karna Ram and Uttama Ram, both residents of Barmer city who have been suffering from silicosis for some time, have now been laid low by the restrictions on Jan Dhan accounts despite the state government sanctioning them Rs one lakh for their treatment.
Another resident of Barmer Rajendra who was also a silicosis patient, died about eight months ago. The government had sanctioned Rs 2 lakh as compensation for his widow but due to the restriction on her Jan Dhan account department, she has not been able to deposit it in her bank.
Laxman Badera, district president, Kamtha Majdoor Union Barmer, a local labour organization, said that due to government’s restriction on Jan Dhan accounts, labourers were not getting financial assistance in the entire state. He demanded that considering the pathetic situation of the labourers, the government should immediately remove this restriction. He claimed that he had written a letter to the PM and also discussed the matter with the minister of finance (state) Arjun Meghwal during his visit to the district.
The Jan Dhan account scheme was launched to ensure access to various financial services like availability of basic savings bank account, access to need based credit, remittances facility, insurance and pension to the excluded sections i.e. weaker sections and low income groups.
Besides, the government plan also envisages channeling all benefits (from Centre/state/local bodies) to the beneficiaries’ accounts and pushing the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme of the central government. In addition, the beneficiaries would get RuPay Debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover worth Rs 1 lakh.