Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said instead of pursuing genuine financial inclusion through Jan Dhan accounts, the Modi government's aim appears to be to break records and grab headlines.
He said just as the India story did not begin on May 26, 2014 when prime minister Narendra Modi took over, financial inclusion did not begin with the Jan Dhan Yojana and it was the UPA government that sowed the idea of financial inclusion.
"It is now common knowledge that the Jan Dhan accounts were used to launder money after demonetisation. A humongous sum of Rs 42,187 crore was deposited in Jan Dhan accounts between November 8, 2016 and December 30, 2016.
"Initially, the Finance Minister threatened legal action (12 November 2016), but the Finance Secretary ruled out any investigation on the grounds it would be a "time consuming process". United Bank of India alone had 11,80,000 Jan Dhan accounts with over Rs 1 lakh so-called 'savings'," he told reporters.
The RBI introduced the Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA), also called the 'no frills account' or 'zero balance account', and until May 2014, 25 crore such accounts were opened, he said.
Chidambaram alleged that under the Modi regime, the BSBDA scheme was renamed as Jan Dhan Yojana.
"Jan Dhan Yojana is another jumla and an exercise in mass deception by PM Modi and his government. The funds were supposed to be cost-free for struggling banks, but they are required to bear the cost of the accounts.
"Instead of pursuing genuine financial inclusion, the Modi government's aim appears to be to break records and grab headlines. When the Modi sarkar speaks of Jan Dhan accounts, it conveniently and deliberately ignores the 25 crore accounts created before 2014," he said.
Chidambaram said he has no complaint with the BJP claiming credit for the accounts opened during the UPA government, "but the kind of boast, self boast you are making on Jan Dhan, I am trying to show these boasts of no truth at all."
He claimed that it was a good idea started by the UPA which has now become "completely distorted".