To reach out to the people in the unbanked rural areas, the State Bank of India (SBI), the largest public sector bank, plans to cover all the Gram Panchayats (Gps) of Orissa under ‘Business Correspondence Model’. This is being done in line with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines on financial inclusion.
Under the plan, open ‘Banking Outposts’ will be opened in 6234 Gram Panchayats (GPs) of the state in joint initiative of SBI and the Orissa government. SBI has roped in the Mumbai based Zero Mass Foundation (ZMF) as Business Correspondent for the scheme.
The Zero Mass Foundation (ZMF) will work as a BC to deliver financial services, including National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) wage payments, in the rural areas. ZMF will recruit and train people at the customer service points to enrol customers and provide banking services in the villages. Orissa will be the first state in the country where all the GPs will be connected by one bank through Business Correspondent model.
The financial inclusion dream of providing all households with bank accounts is expected to be realised by this initiative.
“Orissa will be the first state in the country where all the Gram Panchayats will be connected by the State Bank of India through banking outposts”, Shiva Kumar, chief general manager (CGM), SBI, Orissa circle, told Business Standard.
The bank will enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state Panchayatiraj department on Tuesday in this regard. SBI, which has 616 branches in Orissa, wants to reach out to the people in the rural areas. While the BC model will initially be used for making payments to the beneficiaries under NREGS, the state government will use this set up for implem\entation of other social benefit schemes like old age pension.
Since opening up of branches in all locations is not possible, the bank will vigourously peruse this model for reaching out to all villages in the state. It will expand the system even to cover the poor people who are working outside the state to make payments to their families residing in the state, Kumar added.