|November 28, 2016||The CSR Journal|
In the stir of demonetisation, ICICI Bank will be transforming 100 villages into ICICI Digital Villages. This is part of the digital ecosystem across the country, including rural India, in the wake of demonetisation of high value currencies.
Villages spread across the length and breadth of the country will enable villagers to use digital channels for banking and payments transactions. Opening bank accounts, using Aadhar-based e-KYC and make cashless payments to retail stores through a unique SMS/USSD-based mobile solution are a few provisions.
ICICI Foundation, the CSR arm of the ICICI Group, will impart vocational training to nearly 10,000 underprivileged villagers, especially women, to help them earn a sustainable livelihood. Credit facilities will be extended to the trained villagers in a bid to boost self-employment opportunities in the villages and facilitate a sustainable livelihood. This decision is inspired by India’s first digital village, in Akodara, Sabarkantha district of Gujarat.
Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank said, “ICICI Bank continues to be a catalyst to accelerate development in our country. We strongly feel that technology can play an important role in putting development on a fast lane. By leveraging technology, we converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village to India’s first digital village last year.
The move to convert 100 villages across the country into digital villages is to create a cashless ecosystem at these villages, provide vocational training to 10,000 villagers in first 100 days and offer them credit linkages so that the villagers can start their own business ventures.
The decision has various dimensions to it. Adults will have saving accounts, which will be linked to Aadhar to enable direct transfer of government benefits into these accounts. This SMS banking will be available in regional languages and will function on basic mobile phones. Activities like payments to farmers from mandis and payment from farmers to labourers among others, will be brought under digital payment ecosystem.
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