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Govt takes initiatives to achieve financial inclusion

Posted on Feb 27, 03:30PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 27 : The government on Wednesday said it has taken number of steps to expand the reach of organized financial services to the door steps of the common man.

"Particular attention has been paid to the rural areas where a large segment of the society was not having access to organized banking," Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Wednesday.

Some of the steps taken for financial inclusion are as below:-

Micro-Finance: Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme

The Self-Help Group (SHG)-Bank Linkage Programme has emerged as the major micro-finance programme in the country. It is being implemented by commercial banks, regional rural banks(RRBs), and cooperative banks. Under the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme, as on 31 March 2012, 79.60 lakh SHG-held savings bank accounts with total savings of Rs. 6,551 crore were in operation. By November 2012 another 2.14 lakh SHGs had come under the ambit of theprogramme, taking the cumulative number of savings-linked groups to 81.74 Lakh.

Extension of Swabhimaan Scheme

Under the Swabhimaan financial inclusion campaign, over 74,000 habitations with population in excess of 2,000 had been provided banking facilities by March 2012, using various models and technologies including branchless banking through business correspondents (BCs). Swabhimaan has been extended to habitations with population more than 1,000 in the North-Eastern and hilly states and population more than1,600 in the plains areas as per census 2001. 10,450 have been provided banking facilities by end of December, 2012. This will extend the reach of banks to all habitations above a threshold population.

Setting up of Ultra Small Branches

Considering the need for close supervision and monitoring of the business correspondent agents(BCAs) by respective banks and in order to ensure that a range of banking services are available to the residents of such villages, ultra small branches (USBs) are being set up in all villages covered through BCAs under financial inclusion. These USBs will comprise a small area of 100-200 sq. feet where the officer designated by the bank will be available with a laptop on pre-determined days. A total of over 40,000 USBs have so far been set up in the country.

Roll out of Direct Benefit Transfer

The Government of India has decided to introduce a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme with effect from 1 January, 2013. To begin with, benefits under 26 schemes will directly be transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries in 43 identified districts across respective states and union territories (UT).

Agriculture Credit

As against the target of Rs. 4,75,000 crore fixed for 2011-12, Rs. 5,11,029.09 crore was disbursed to the agricultural sector, thereby exceeding the target by 8 per cent.

Kisan Credit Card Scheme

The Kisan Credit Card(KCC) has been an important initiative for universal access of farmers to institutional credit. The number of operative KCCs issued by the cooperative banks and RRBs as on 31 August, 2012 was 406 Lakhsagainst which outstanding loan amount was Rs.1,12,334 crores.