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Kotak Mahindra launches financial inclusion programme

Programme to allow regiestered members of milk unions to receive payments against supply of milk in the

BS Reporter 

Kotak Mahindra Bank on Tuesday introduced a financial inclusion programme, 'Kotak Samridhi', for milk producing farmers in West Bengal. The programme will allow registered members of milk unions to receive payments against supply of milk in their bank or card accounts.

"We are taking concerted efforts to bridge the barriers to formal banking system across the country through financial inclusion. Kotak Samridhi takes us a step closer towards inclusive banking as it introduces farmers of village dairy societies in West Bengal to the formal banking channel," Mahesh Balasubramanian, executive vice president and head of branch banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank, told reporters here today.

The programme is being implemented in association with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and AMUL. In the first phase, it will be introduced in 75 villages in Hooghly and Bardhaman districts of West Bengal covering over 10,000 milk producers. In the next phase, the bank will launch the programme in Kaira district of Gujarat, covering 1,200 villages in all and consisting of around 300,000 milk producers.

Kotak Mahindra Bank will set up a network of business correspondent (BC) agents who will help the members of milk unions to enroll for this programme. The agents will be given point-of-sale (POS) terminals to facilitate cash withdrawal transactions at BC outlets.

"The milk producers will receive remuneration in their bank or card accounts, and the automated payment disbursal process will limit risky cash handling. Members will also get access to NPCI's ATM and POS infrastructure across India. The technology also enables farmers to withdraw cash as desired at the village dairy society itself through the BC network," Tushar Trivedi, executive vice president of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said.

Apart from the remittance service, the private lender also aims to offer deposit and loan products to the milk producers.

Balasubramanian said the bank aims to introduce a similar programme for wheat and paddy in Haryana and Punjab.

Kotak Mahindra Bank had 503 branches at the end of September, 2013. Of these, 119 branches were in semi-urban locations, while 76 branches were in rural centres. The bank plans to close the current financial year with a network of 600 branches, including 240-250 branches in semi-urban and rural areas.

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First Published: Wed, December 18 2013. 00:41 IST