FM eyes financial inclusion via mobile banking for all

Efforts are on to introduce mobile banking even on basic cellphones, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, during a meeting with heads of public sector banks.

At present, the facility is available only on smartphones.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a campaign to expand the scope of financial inclusion by providing at least two bank accounts to 75 million households that do not have access to banking.

“The intention is, in a mission mode, to have a formal campaign which will be announced by the prime minister... this campaign for inclusion will be at various layers,” Jaitley said.

The revamped financial inclusion programme would involve both urban and rural poor.

Jaitley said that brick-and-mortar branches would be set up wherever possible, but the layer below that would have kiosks and ATMs. Business correspondents, who act as itinerant bank agents, would also be engaged for the purpose. “Where it is not possible, there smaller branches manned by one or two people would be created,” he said.

“Currently, the reach of the banking systems extends to about 58-59% and therefore the dark areas, which are not covered include about 75 million households,” Jaitley added.

Financial services secretary GS Sandhu said SBI Capital Markets has been appointed to undertake a study on mergers and recapitalisation of government banks. State-owned banks are set to hit the markets to raise capital to meet the Basel III capital adequacy norms.

 

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