In a shocking revelation, it was announced that banks had been manipulating the numbers of operational Jan Dhan accounts. As you’ll recall, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was an initiative that aimed to bring banking services to the economically weaker sections of the population. All the account holder had to do was to maintain a minimum balance of Re.1 in the account. Over time banks started reporting lower number of “Zero Balance” accounts with the number of such accounts dropping from 76% to just 46%. It seemed to be a step in the right direction but it has now been found that many banks, including Bank of Baroda and Bank of India, had put money into the “Zero Balance” accounts to reduce the numbers of such accounts. In the case of BOB, 2% of the PMJDY accounts had received the Re.1 deposit from the banks side and the money had been taken from the banks profit and loss account. Banks like Allahabad Bank had representatives open accounts and deposit money in them to show a reduction in Zero Balance accounts. The numbers show that of the 23.4 crore accounts opened under this scheme, over 5% of the accounts have Re.1 in them and the first deposit of the money is the only transaction the account has ever seen. Reacting to the revelation, the government ordered a probe into wrongdoings by the banks and many of the banks promised stricter vigilance of the handling of the PMJDY accounts. Such a revelation comes at a time when banks have gone from being the heroes of demonitisation to the villains in the wake of revelations of misconduct by bank officials in exchanging currency for people while disregarding the rules laid down by the government for the demonitisation.