The Reserve Bank of India plans to introduce a new set of guidelines on the Business Correspondent (BC) model as a step forward towards its objective of promoting financial inclusion in all unbanked areas of India.
The business correspondent model was designed by the RBI in the year 2006 wherein NBFCs which do not accept public deposits, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and other organizations of the kind can act as business correspondents and thereby finance the rural community. But the entire process has to take place under banks' vigil. Banks can only authorize those entities as business correspondents who are financially solvent enough for the process.
At a function held at Ranikhera village, a rural area near New Delhi, H R Khan, executive director, RBI said, "We are working on a fresh set of guidelines for the business correspondent model that would help in greater financial inclusion. At present, the model is too restrictive and we are constantly examining the correspondent model to make it more operative."
Carrying forward the same motive, Punjab National Bank in coordination with RBI has opened a biometric ATM in Ranikhera village. The biometric facility will enable user identification with the help of thumb impression or imprint of the palm.
The machine will serve four villages and around 3, 00,000 villagers.
Other banks like Syndicate Bank, State Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce are also in move to open such ATMs.
Khan quoted, "PSU banks can set up an international benchmark with its strong technology with a focused approach to expand access to finance for the common man staying in unbanked areas."
"There is an immense potential in the far-flung areas of our country. Around 65 per cent of India doesn't have a bank account. Therefore, our approach is always to work towards the financial inclusion and provide knowledge of banking in those areas," said Nagesh Pydah, executive director, Punjab National Bank.
Speaking on the occasion Sandip Ghose, regional director, Reserve Bank of India said, "We are adopting a cluster approach by setting up a platform that will cater to the underprivileged in a cluster of villages. We are also trying to increase the level of financial literacy among them."