Twenty years after he moved to Delhi, Maqsud Alam, a rickshaw puller, finally decided to open a bank account on Monday, with help from the students from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).
Alam, a resident of Rajapur slum in West Delhi’s Rohini area, met SRCC students who performed a ‘nukkad natak’ (street play) on the importance of maintaining a bank account.
“I have to work as a rickshaw puller the whole day. By the time I get free, all banks are closed. Where is the time to do any transaction? Today, the students made me understand the importance of having an account. The bank officials are here and I realise that it can be done easily,” Alam said.
To raise financial literacy among the poor, students and teachers of SRCC and officials from the State Bank of India (SBI) have been visiting slums and villages to encourage people to save money, open bank accounts and carry out digital banking.
“Today, we were able to open more than 100 bank accounts. There is a lot of interest among people about government schemes which they can access with their bank accounts,” said Anil Kumar, convener of ‘Vittshala’, SRCC’s financial literacy cell.
He said many people did not have the required documents, and so Jan Dhan accounts were opened for them. “Going cashless will be the next step. Once they have bank accounts, we can help them use SBI and other banking apps to go cashless,” he said.
Kumar said the cell aims to teach people about the basics of financial planning, channelisation of savings, going cashless and digital banking. There are four projects under the cell, which will work in areas such as Basodi village in the Sonipat district of Haryana, the Razapur slum near Rohini and Shakti Nagar Ext-T slum near North Campus.
The students have already campaigned at a village in Sonepat district of Haryana. “We performed a street play, which was followed by discussions. People had a lot of queries about government schemes and how they can benefit from them,” a student said.
In order to promote a digital economy, Kumar said, SRCC students have identified 10 SBI ATM counters near north campus, where a group of four students will interact with people waiting in the queues and demonstrate the use of e-wallets, to go cashless.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, an alumnus of SRCC, launched the cell in October. Member students have been trained by senior officials from State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd.