Finance Minister to Banks: Reach out to Villages Via New Technologies
Thursday, July 15, 2010
New Delhi Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asked banks to adopt new technologies, such as mobile banking and telephony, to reach out to the rural population and make economic growth inclusive and sustainable.
“… We have to use new technologies and IT to make banking services available and within reach of rural people at large through the services of business correspondents, mobile banking vans, mobile telephony services and no frill accounts, etc,” Mukherjee said at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry.
He further said there is an urgent need for branch expansion of different banks, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, to make banking facilities accessible to farmers, agricultural labourers and small artisans.
Mukherjee added that financial inclusion is one of the government’s important priorities, since access and availability of banking and credit services for the entire population is essential for the creation of an all-inclusive and efficient economy, besides making Indian growth sustainable.
“… At present, there is a big gap as far as availability of banking facilities in rural areas vis-a-vis the rural population is concerned,” he said.
Mukherjee said that so far, meetings with the Chief Ministers of the North-Eastern, Eastern, Western, Central and Northern states have been completed.
In addition, the meeting with the Chief Ministers of Southern states and PSU bank heads will be held this month before the Monsoon session, the Finance Minister added.