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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finmin to meet RBI on financial inclusion tomorrow

The Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank officials will meet tomorrow in Mumbai to finalise new technological models for spreading banking activities in unbanked areas, as asked by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Budget for 2010-11.

"Tomorrow, we are going to sit with RBI to finalise what are going to be the various technologies which we will be using in this effect, what are the business processes under the regulation available," financial services secretary R Gopalan said at Skoch summit here.

Gopalan said the government has identified 60,000 areas with population of more than 2000 which do not have banking facilities.

"We are looking at a slew of channels, which can be used for the purpose (providing banking facilities in these areas)," he said.

In his Budget speech, the Finance Minister had said that despite the expansion of banking network in the country, there are still some areas that remain under-banked or unbanked.

"A sub-committee of State Level Bankers Committee ( SLBC) will identify such areas and formulate an action plan for providing banking facilities to all these areas in the next three years," he had said.

He set aside Rs 100 crore for 2010-11 as one-time grant-in-aid to ensure provision of at least one centre or point of sales for banking services in each of the unbanked blocks in the country.

To increase the access of banking facilities, banks have in place "no frill accounts" system, which do not require any balance or very less minimum balance.

"So far, these banks have opened 3.3 crore such accounts," Mukherjee had said.

To further increase the banking facilities, the Reserve Bank has also allowed banks to to set up standalone ATMs without prior approval.

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