Direct benefit transfers (DBT)
According to media reports, what drew a lot of unbanked people to the PMJDY was the worry that that they won't get government benefits if they didn't have a bank account. This was a major incentive to open bank accounts.
Is this new? The DBT scheme was launched in January 2013 and was being rolled out in phases. Thereafter, the government started the transfer of cash subsidy for domestic LPG cylinders to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts from June 1, 2013.
And what is the cornerstone of all this? Bank accounts. Here is what the 2013 finance-ministry document says: "Banks play a key role in implementation of DBT and this involves three important steps."
These are the opening of accounts; the seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar; and undertaking funds transfer using the National Automated Clearing House-Aadhaar Payment Bridge System. Sounds like everything that the PMJDY will be doing? Already laid down in 2013.
The government had issued a detailed guideline on financial inclusion back in October 2011, advising banks to open branches in all habitations of 5,000 or more population in under-banked districts and 10,000 or more population in other districts.
Out of 3,925 such identified locations, branches have been opened in 3,402 by end of April 2013. All the 129 unbanked blocks identified in the country in July 2009 had been provided with banking facilities by March 2012, according to the finance ministry.
Image: Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi presents the 210 millionth Aadhaar biometric card to a villager in Rajasthan, in this file photo.
Image courtesy: Reuters