Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna

Touted as one of the biggest bank deposit mobilization schemes in recent times, what is Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna?

Nothing. Yes, its just a Prime Minister asking banks to do their jobs, which is all being camouflaged in a PR stunt. Banks in India are notorious for their anti customer behaviour especially if they have less money. Such people are just wasting their time. They are not valuable clients with promises of good diwali gifts. In 1970s all banks in India were nationalised by government for reasons best known to people of those times. But one of the reasons of course was to make banks work for politicians and big businesses. Banks did as masters in Delhi told them and this culture still remains. Customer service is least of priority of any bank.  So if they did have some soft corner for their customers, it would have been easy for people to open bank accounts. And we wouldn't have a Prime Minister, lending the title of his post to a scheme to increase bank accounts.

Also look at so called features of these specially designed bank accounts. Zero balance accounts are already being provided by banks like IDBI. Without cheque book accounts can be easily be opened as per procedure with balance requirement as low as Rs.500 in almost every nationalized bank. So what is new in this Yojna? Just PR and clever advertising.

But still its a good news for India. Even if they don't want to (yes, they point blank tell you that ) open bank accounts for less privileged, the might of Finance Ministry and  prestige of the title of PM of India is ensuring many accounts are now being opened.Even if they make excuses like shortage of plastic cards (in one branch of State Bank of Patiala I learned shortage ran for several months)  they are still processing the accounts.

It is also becoming a back door for money laundry guys, for in an effort to boost volumes, checks are becoming lax and with just one ID card you can open your bank account. Like taking a telecom sim. Again, I say, shouldn't that be the case for all types of banking. Simplified, less bureaucratic but good on security too?

I hope, the new government after done with its PR mumbo jumbo, will push this as just not a yojna but a reform to make Indian banks especially public sector banks more customer centric.


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