India launches 75 digital banking units across rural areas in financial inclusion push • TechCrunch
India on Sunday launched 75 digital banking units in villages and small towns across the country in a move it said will help bring financial services and literacy for more people.
Digital banking units, formed in partnership with more than 20 public and private banks, are brick-and-mortar stores equipped with tablets and internet services to help individuals and small businesses Open savings accounts, access government-defined programs, perform verifications, make transactions, and avail loans and insurance.
The physical stores, spanning all states and union territories of India, will provide the service in two ways. Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said: “Self-service mode will be available for 24x7x365 days. “Banks can also freely engage in the services of digital and mail businesses to expand the reach of DBUs,” he said.
Das said the units will also provide a digital support area to answer questions from individuals and small businesses and listen to their grievances.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the banking service available so far has been a struggle for those living in villages and small towns. Even if over a billion bank accounts exist in India, people living in remote areas often have to take a day off work to go to a nearby city to do their banking.
“We have made it a top priority to ensure that banking services reach the final step,” he said. “We are not only closing the physical distance, but most importantly, we are removing the psychological distance.”
The digital banking units are part of the Modi government’s years-long effort to serve people in remote areas of the country. The government launched Jan Dhan Yojana, a plan to give all citizens access to banking and financial services in 2014. More than 470 million bank accounts were opened as part of the scheme,
Modi said: “Today the whole country is experiencing the power of Jan Dhan Bank account. “This has opened up a path for the poor to get loans without collateral and provides Direct Benefit Transfer to the accounts of the target audience. These accounts are the primary means of providing housing, toilets, gas subsidies, and the benefits of programs to farmers that can be seamlessly secured. The IMF praised India’s digital banking infrastructure. “The credit for this goes to the poor, farmers and workers of India, who have adopted new technology, making it a part of their lives,” he said.