India on Sunday launched 75 digital banking units in villages and small towns across the country in a move it says will help bring financial services and literacy to more citizens.
The digital banking unit, established in collaboration with more than 20 public and private banks, is a shop equipped with tablets and internet services to help individuals and small businesses open their savings accounts, access government-identified schemes, perform verification. , make transactions and obtain loans and insurance.
Physical branches across all states and union territories of India, and will provide services in two modes. “Self-service mode will be available 24x7x365 days,” Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said in a virtual conference. “Banks are also free to use the services of digital business facilities and correspondence to expand DBU’s footprint,” he said.
Das said the unit will also offer a digital help zone to answer queries from individuals and small businesses and listen to their grievances.
Access to banking services has traditionally been a struggle for people living in villages and small towns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Although more than one billion bank accounts exist in India, people living in remote areas usually have to take a day off from work to visit nearby cities for their banking related work.
“We have given priority to ensure that banking services reach the final level,” he said. “We not only eliminate physical distance but, most importantly, we eliminate psychological distance.”
The digital banking unit is part of the Modi government’s efforts over the years to serve people in remote areas of the country. The government launched the Jan Dhan Yojana, a scheme to get all citizens access to banking and financial services in 2014. More than 470 million bank accounts were opened as part of the scheme,
“Today the whole country is experiencing the power of the Jan Dhan Bank account,” Modi said. “This paves the way for loans for the poor without collateral and provides Direct Interest Transfer to the target beneficiary’s account. These accounts are the main modality to provide houses, toilets, gas subsidy, and scheme benefits for farmers can be ensured smoothly. The IMF has praised India’s digital banking infrastructure. Credit for this goes to India’s poor, farmers and labourers, who have adopted the new technology, making it a part of their lives,” he said.