Jan Dhan

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks during a conclave on financial inclusion organized by the United Nations in New Delhi Sept. 13, 2017. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — As many as 30 crore families have opened bank accounts since the launch of India's biggest ever bank account drive, Jan Dhan Yojana, three years earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Sept. 13.

About 42 percent of households did not have bank accounts prior to the Jan Dhan Yojana, which aims to give every household access to banking facilities by offering them zero-balance accounts across all commercial banks.

Speaking at a conclave on financial inclusion, he said the number of zero-balance accounts has decreased from 77 percent to 20 percent and that these zero-balance accounts will become operational once the direct benefit transfer is expanded.

In September 2014, three months after the scheme was launched, 76.81 percent of accounts were zero balance. The number of zero-balance accounts has now fallen to 20 percent of all accounts, he said.

Thanks to the Jan Dhan Yojana, 99.99 percent of households now have at least one bank account.

Jaitley also said the Aadhaar biometric identification number was an evolving idea under the previous UPA regime and it did not have legislative backing.

The Aadhaar legislation and the use of a unique identification number to receive government benefits, which passed during the BJP rule, will stand test of constitutionality, he said.

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