jan dhan yojnaNew Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday said a record 115 million bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and the opening 1.8 crore accounts in a week has been recognised by Guinness World Records.

“The Guinness World Records has recognised the achievements made under the PMJDY and has given a certificate stating that the most bank accounts opened in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign (FIC) is 18,096,130 and was achieved by the department of financial services, government of India from Aug 23-Aug 29, 2014,” Jaitley said.

Till Jan 17, 11.50 crore bank accounts have been opened as against the target of 7.5 crore by Jan 26, 2015.

Exclusion of a large number of people from any access to financial services inhibits the growth of the country, the minister said PMJDY – the biggest financial inclusion initiative in the world – is a “came changer” for the economy as it provides platform for Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) which in turn will help in plugging leakages in subsidies and thereby increasing savings to the exchequer.

Jaitley said: “The financial inclusion is one of the top most priorities of the government.”

Under the PAHAL scheme, which is the DBT in LPG subsidy, he said an amount of Rs.1, 757 crore has been transferred to the beneficiary accounts through the banking network since Nov 15, 2014.

“So far 19 schemes out of 35 DBT schemes have been rolled-out across the country, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 300 districts,” he said.

The minister said the state governments have also been requested to transfer cash (benefits) directly in the bank accounts of beneficiaries thereby cutting layers in the delivery process.