Bank Mitras in India: How Agents of Financial Inclusion Were Neglected During the Pandemic
Having helped to provide digital financial services in unbanked or under-banked areas for years, with the banking industry reeling under the pressure of COVID-19-induced challenges since March, its force of outreach agents feel neglected.
Known as bank correspondents, or more colloquially as bank mitras, the all-outsourced workforce enjoys a job profile not dissimilar to that of a regular bank employee: assisting in opening bank accounts, specifically under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) or ensuring access to banking services, notably in areas without branches or ATMs.
Their work is significant for achieving financial inclusion across the country, even more so when lockdown-triggered restrictions over movement made individual visits to bank branches difficult.
Photo courtesy of Peter Haden.