Mainstream banking services would be provided to all unbanked semi-urban, rural and remote areas having population of 2,000 by next year, top Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials said on Saturday.
"To save the poor people from usurers and to provide regular banking services to 100 percent adult people across the country, specially in the remote areas, traditional banking system are being changed gradually," RBI Executive Director Dipak Kumar Mohanty told reporters.
He said: "Where bank branches could not be set up, the central bank has asked all the banks to engage retired bank officials, locals and societies (moving with biometric and other devices) as business correspondents (BC) to extend the banking services to all the adult citizens."
The RBI as part of its platinum jubilee celebrations has been organising financial outreach camps in semi-urban, rural and remote areas since 2009 across the country to make people aware about the banking services, dubious activities of unauthorised non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and institutions, besides bringing all the people under the banking services.
Mohanty accompanied by RBI's Guwahati based regional director Surekha Marandi and top bank officials attended an outreach camp at Garjanmura, 65 km south of Agartala.
Mohanty and Marandi said the RBI would set up more sub-offices in northeastern states to improve the monitoring system of the nationalised and regional rural banks besides NBFCs in the region.
"RBI has decided to open its sub-offices in six northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya - in a phased manner," Mohanty said.
According to the officials, the first such sub-office of the RBI is expected to be inaugurated in Tripura capital Agartala May 18.
The RBI and top bank officials during the outreach camp explained the local people about opening of the no-frill (zero balance) account, taking loans from the banks with trouble-free method, increasing of credit-deposit ratio and safe deposit of their hard earned money.
The officials said NBFC's not recognised by the RBI, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) or the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) cannot do any monetary business or take deposit from people.
"People in many cases fall into the trap of hefty returns in quick succession from their investments in the capital markets or unauthorised financial institutions," the RBI officials said.