Sunday, May 12, 2013
Swabhimaan - A Unique Financial Inclusion Initiative
Q. What is the picture of financial inclusion?
Only about 38% of bank branches are in rural areas and only 40% (approx.) of the country’s population have bank accounts. Though strides have been made in expansion of bank branches from around 8700 at the time of bank nationalization in 1969 to around 87,000 presently, only 32,000 (approx.) are in rural areas. The average population per bank branch is around 13,900.
A nationwide programme on financial inclusion, “Swabhimaan” was launched in February, 2011 by the Government, which is focused on bringing the deprived sections of the society in banking network to ensure that the benefits of economic growth reach everyone at all levels.
This campaign promises to bring basic banking services to 73,000 unbanked villages with a population of 2,000 and above by March, 2012 and at least 5 crore new accounts will be opened.
The movement will facilitate opening of banks accounts, provide need-based credit, remittance facilities and help to promote financial literacy in rural India.
Q. What is the vision of Swabhimaan?
The vision for this programme is social application of modern technology. Banks will provide basic services like deposits, withdrawals and remittances using the services of Business Correspondents also known as Bank Saathi.
This initiative also enables Government subsidies and social security benefits to now be directly credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries so that they could draw the money from the Business Correspondents in their village itself.
Banking facilities like Savings Bank, recurring Deposits, Fixed deposits, Remittances, Overdraft facility, Kisan Credit Card (KCCs), General Credit Cards (GCC) and collection of cheques will be provided.
The Banks are also working together with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for enrolment, opening bank accounts and also to facilitate transfer of government subsidies and other payments.