India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Despite this, a majority of the country’s population is still unbanked. Financial Inclusion was used in India for the first time in 2005 by the then Governor of RBI, Y Venugopal Reddy, in order to address the need to provide financial services to the underprivileged.
According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people in the world do not use formal financial services. This has led to financial instability in the economy. There are very less number of banks in the rural villages in India, that the people have no choice but to carry out their transactions in cash or cheques. This leaves them vulnerable to theft and fraud. This also does not allow these rural people to upgrade themselves to digital transactions, which is one of the major agenda of government of India since the demonetization.
Financial inclusion is a venture to deliver financial services to these underprivileged sections of the society at affordable rates. Reiterating to the need of the hour, the IDFC Foundation has partnered Vasudhara Dairy to bring financial inclusion to over 1000 unbanked villages in the tribal districts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. This initiative will enable thousands of farmers to now access financial services in their villages.
This would be accomplished by using Financial Inclusion Devices or interoperable microATMs, a digital innovation by IDFC Bank that has helped build access to banking services and convenience even in the most remote locations in our country.
“Financial inclusion is a key to improving the quality of life in rural India. Within the rural landscape, the dairy sector is an area which provides livelihood to millions of marginal, small and landless farmers. Many of them are excluded from the financial mainstream. Thus, we have identified it as an area of large scale social intervention,” said Dr. NS Rajan, Group CHRO, Group CMO and CEO of IDFC Foundation.
The Financial Inclusion Device or microATM comprises a tab, a biometric reader and a thermal printer. Dairy farmers residing in the village and holding an account in any bank, can now avail of all basic inclusion services, including deposits and withdrawals, fund transfer, remittances and bill payments, in their village; thus saving them significant time and money spent in travelling long distances to the nearest banking facility. Farmers can also open accounts on these devices, using Aadhaar-enabled biometric authentication in just 4 minutes.
With more such initiatives, the RBI’s vision to open nearly 600 million new customers’ accounts and service them by the year 2020 would soon be a reality.
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The CSR Journal Team