To push the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the government might offer performance-based incentives for bank staff. The parameters would be the number of accounts opened, the number of households covered, the camps conducted and house-to-house surveys done.
While the Indian Banks’ Association will be involved in giving a broad outline and conceptualising the incentive scheme, it is the government which will take the final call.
The Jan Dhan Yojana, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 and launched on August 28, envisages access to banking services to all un-banked individuals in India. Under this scheme, 75 million people would be provided with a bank account and an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 each.
Further, they would be provided with a RuPay debit card and Rs 1-lakh accident insurance cover. Those opening an account before January 26, 2015, will also be entitled to avail of a life insurance cover of Rs 30,000.
Initially, banks were given a target to open 75 million accounts by the middle of August 2015. After banks had opened about 15 million accounts by this August, the date was forwarded to January 26, 2015.
While account opening is on full swing to reach the target as set by the government, there were concerns of duplication since they were in a rush to open bank accounts. Since there is no specific form for this particular scheme, banks are following the same process, which they use for the regular financial inclusion plan.
Take, for instance, the case of Govindamma. The 54-year-old from Karnataka, working as a housemaid in Mumbai, said this was the first time she was offered a chair to sit in a bank. “The account opening process was smooth and the public sector branch executive just made me fill one form. However, I was not asked if I already had a bank account.”
Some customers in bank branches were eager to avail of the overdraft facility. In a public sector bank branch in central Mumbai’s Sion area, for instance, there were several of them clarifying if two members of a family can be eligible for this. According to the rules mentioned in the application forms, a person will be eligible for overdraft facility after six months of account opening for meeting emergency needs. This is subject to the condition that only one member from a household will be eligible for this facility.
Banks are also enabling customers to redress their grievances by providing toll-free numbers where individuals can call and request for solutions to their issues related to the scheme.
Although work is in progress under this scheme and about 28 million accounts have been opened so far, the issuance of RuPay debit cards has been a bit slow. Antara Chavan, a municipal cleaning staff who just had her account opened under the scheme, has been told by the bank that it will take seven-to-eight days for the card to be issued.
“Having a card would make it easier for us to withdraw money for small purchases. However, we are anticipating some delays since bank officers have told us there is a long waiting list of individuals who are yet to receive these cards,” she said.