A large chunk of the Indian population will bridge the digital divide in the current financial year with post offices putting in place a core banking system and banks setting up digital banking units in 75 districts.
The Post Office Savings Bank has 19 crore savings accounts including those under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. While the post office has the reach, its customers do not have access to anytime-anywhere banking, which is available to the urban clientele.
With all the 1. 5 lakh post offices in the country coming under the core banking system, customers can access their accounts through net banking, mobile banking, and ATMs. They will also be able to transfer funds from their post office accounts to accounts in commercial banks.
“The Budget proposal to set up 75 DBUs in 75 districts is in sync with our ongoing digital banking initiatives,” said SBI chairman Dinesh Khara.
“For India to become a digital economy, all villages should have the same access to digital resources as urban areas. To augment this, the setting up of DBUs is a commitment to taking high-end tech to the bottom of the pyramid,” said Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby.
According to bankers, the setting up of DBUs will provide a concerted effort at building up a payment ecosystem that will benefit all the banks in the district. “The Jan Dhan Yojana has ensured that most households have bank accounts. The need now is to build an ecosystem so that they can use their accounts for all transactions without having to draw cash,” said a senior banker. He added that the details of the scheme were still awaited.
According to Bajaj, DBUs will ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner. “The objective of citizen empowerment with digital growth and supporting fintech will directionally encourage delivering of digitisation to India in its 100th year well ahead of time,” said Bajaj.