Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is the talking point once again after the demonetization drive started by Modi Government. There are discussions and media reports on Jan Dhan accounts being used to deposit black money and subsequent action by the Reserve Bank of India to put monthly withdrawal limits on these accounts.
The primary purpose of Jan Dhan Yojana was to ensure at least one bank account per household. Post demonetization we see account opening spree by people in the informal sector. It validates the point that PMJDY did not achieve its basic objective. Let’s question who should be made accountable for the failure considering the money and the energy spent by the government in this flagship program.
Dormancy was a prime concern for these Jan Dhan accounts. Post demonetization money started entering these accounts and people started raising eyebrows. The government says that the amount deposited till date in these accounts is approximately Rs75000 crores. While total number of Jan Dhan account is 25 crores. Assuming 70% active accounts, the total number of functional account works out be less than 18 crore. So average balance per Jan Dhan account is Rs4000/. We fail to understand why Rs4000/ deposit by a poor person is considered alarming.
In order to punish the black money hoarders the government is punishing the entire population by creating cash crunch. Similarly the Reserve Bank is targeting the entire population which was till recently financially excluded by putting restriction on using their own accounts.
It also exposes the government’s inability to catch the guilty and act as per ill thought generalizations.
Perhaps Amartya Sen is not wrong in using the word “Despotic” to describe government actions.