New Delhi, November 20: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi shocked the country by announcing the demonetisation of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, it seems the present government has further shocks in store for the country. This time, however, the surprise is meant to be pleasant and it will benefit the poor in the country enormously. according to preliminary information, the government has decided to deposit Rs 10,000 in every Jan Dhan account that records a zero balance.
This move envisions tangible benefits for the poor from the windfall the government has received from demonetisation. The move will also be extremely populist and could help the government regain a bit of its popularity that was tarnished by post demonetisation hardships. According to
According to information released by the government, out of the net 25 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened in the country, approximately 5.8 crore are zero-balance accounts. Therefore, calculations predict that the gesture could cost the government an estimated Rs 58,000 crore.
Though this seems like a vast sum of money, it must be remembered that economic analysts have summed up the gains of demonetisation to a whopping Rs 3 lakh crore. The Deccan Chronicle initially reported the possible measure and also revealed highly-placed sources as having stated, that after targeting black money hoarders, the government “has to send a signal to poor farmers, among others, that the benefits are being passed on to them.”
Depositing Rs 10,000 in every zero balance Jan Dhan account will not only be beneficial for India’s poor but will also turn out to be a scoop for the BJP and the ruling NDA. Demonetisation has taken its toll on BJP’s traditional voter base which mainly comprises of businessmen, merchants, the middle class etc. However, transforming the hardline agenda against black money into a pro-poor policy could help the party gain back sympathy from its traditional voter base in addition to expanding it.
The initial report on the possible move also recorded a senior BJP strategist as having said, “To win subsequent general elections, one has to reach out to the poor and the farmers.”The main agenda of the Modi government at the moment is “empowerment of the poor.”
The move could have a significant effect on the political discourse engaged in by leaders of RJD, JDU, AAP and Congress. Opposition leaders often taunt the BJP of not fulfilling its hypothetical promise of depositing Rs 15 Lakh in every account if all the black money is brought out. Depositing Rs 10,000 in every zero balance Jan Dhan account could indeed be a game changer for the government.