Financial inclusion seems to have gained priority in the agenda of most banks. The largest lender of the country- State Bank of India has aimed at covering 50,000 unbanked villages of the country under this drive this fiscal.
"The bank under financial inclusion initiative has planned to cover 50,000 unbanked villages during 2010-11 which will take total reach to 1,50,000 villages," a senior official of SBI said.
The bank plans to do so with the help of business correspondents. It has planned to hire 15,000 business correspondents for the same. These correspondents would aid the villagers in opening bank accounts.
"In order to expand our presence in the unbanked areas, the bank intends to hire around 15,000 (business correspondents) in 2010-11," the official said.
The official said that it is not feasible for banks to open branches in every village. In this context, business correspondents and the business facilitator model would help in spreading banking to all parts of the country.
The Finance Minister had announced in Budget 2010-11 that, "To reach the benefits of banking services to the 'Aam Aadmi' (common man), the RBI had set up a high-level committee on the lead bank scheme."
"It is also proposed to extend insurance and other services to the targeted beneficiaries. These services will be provided using the business correspondent and other models with appropriate technology back up. By this arrangement, it is proposed to cover 60,000 habitations," Mr. Mukherjee had said.
Financial inclusion is the prime need of the hour- as has been declared by the RBI and the Centre.