Centre banks on post offices to reach rural masses

By S.M. Shahbaz

Mayor Sita Sahu first account-holder at India post Payments bank’s city branch

Patna: Mayor Sita Sahu on Saturday became the first account-holder at India Post Payments Bank’s branch in Patna, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the bank to the people of the country.

The aim of India Post Payments Bank is to increase financial inclusion and penetration of banking services in rural areas by using post offices’ infrastructure and manpower. In Bihar, 190 access points and branches in all 38 districts started providing banking and crucial financial services to people who were earlier deprived of services in the absence of branches nearby.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the service from Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi amid thousands of people and postal department officials.

Speaking at the launch in Patna, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “Acting as financial agents, 16,000 postal servicemen will provide home delivery of banking and insurance products at people’s doorsteps in all 38 districts of the state using digital means.

“The state government aims at providing IPPB services in all 42,000 villages and over 1 lakh small habitations in the state in the coming years,” Modi said.

The deputy chief minister said 9,000 new access points of IPPB will be opened in Bihar in the next four years, apart from the 3,588 branches of various banks which currently provides banking services to people in rural areas of the state.

Union minister of state for rural development Ram Kripal Yadav said there are over 1.55 lakh post offices in the country, 90 per cent of them in rural areas.

“Post offices have deeper penetration in rural areas, which would be used to provide banking services to people in the country as well as in Bihar. IPPB will strengthen rural people financially by connecting them with banking services and at the same time would be remembered as a revolutionary step in financial inclusion of people whom banks earlier ignored.

The Prime Minister also assured the public there would be no obligation on account-holders to keep minimum balance in the IPPB.

Also, there would be no charges for making transactions, using ATM facility or receiving SMS alerts on cellphones.

The bank will also provide lending facility to the rural population.

Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav said: “The launch of India Post Payments Bank will bring economic-social revolution in rural areas – where only a third of bank branches and a sixth of ATMs lie – by introducing to them paperless, easy and digitised banking services. It will also provide services related to insurance, direct benefit transfer and payment of bills at people’s doorstep, minimising the need to visit banks or post office branches.

Chief postmaster general, Bihar Circle, M.E. Haque, said 38 branches and 190 access points in Bihar started from Saturday.

“These are aimed at providing doorstep delivery of banking and financial services to rural people, leading to greater financial inclusion, stability and growth of rural economy”. He noted that 3,250 access points and 650 branches of IPPB have started providing services across the country from Saturday.

Apart from Sita Sahu, others who opened their accounts at IPPB’s Patna branch on Saturday included MLAs Shyam Rajak, Asha Devi and Ranvijay Singh. Five small businessmen also opened their account through biometric devices on the occasion.

Source: The Telegraph India

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