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Banks get Dec 15 deadline to open accounts in 51 districts

Mobile connectivity and shortage of banking correspondents remain concern areas

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The government has given the deadline of December 15 to the public sector banks to open the bank accounts in the 51 districts chosen for the rollout of direct of the subsidies scheme.

“The banks have been given electoral rolls in rural areas and they have to ensure that per family at least one account is opened,” a top bank official said.

However, the shortfall of business correspondents (BC) is the big hurdle which currently the banks are facing in rural areas. The BC model is a key in financial inclusion scheme and thereby in the cash transfer scheme is yet to be stabilised, though efforts are on for the same another banker said.

“Getting BCs is not very difficult, but the rate of attrition is very high due to availability of other better avenues,” chairman of a public sector bank said.

The government is pushing hard with the banks to have all infrastructures for the rollout of the scheme before December 15.

As far as the technological infrastructure is concerned, the banks are ready and currently the testings are on and we hope that everything would be in the place before the D-day, this banker added.

However, currently the banks are focusing on the 51 districts chosen for the first phase of the scheme and looking that the scheme is success a banker said.

The mobile connectivity and communications where system doesn’t get connected is also a major problem which hampers the banks in functioning in rural areas through BC model.

Yesterday here, KV Kamath, chairman ICICI Bank and Infosys said, “The scheme will change the budgetary process in the country, it will change our deficit process and it will make a huge lot of good as money goes into the hands of people.”

“There will definitely be hiccups in the initial days of the implementation of the scheme,” he added.

He expressed confidence that the banks have the necessary systems and support to make it a success, a view which other public sector bankers also supported.

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