Robust mobile and internet connectivity has helped India in a big way to expand financial inclusion, while a diverse network of banking correspondents and micro ATMs has ensured last mile reach, SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara said on Thursday.
Speaking at a session on ‘Financial inclusion beyond access’ during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 here, he also said a lot is being done in the country to spread financial and digital literacy to help people with their banking needs and to safeguard them from any frauds. “We are a country of 1.3 billion and the mobile phone connections we have are about 1.2 billion. We also have some 800 million internet connections and that has helped us a lot expand financial inclusion,” Khara said. “During the pandemic period, we also did another excellent job, that is distributing foodgrain also, rather than just distributing cash. That helped us contain inflation,” the SBI chairman said. Khara said that his and other banks have created a robust system of digital banking that help people get access to their banking needs in real time.
“Beyond mobile phones also, we have a system of banking correspondents for last mile connectivity and to reach out to those without mobile phones. Besides, we have a huge network of branches, ATMs and micro ATMs,” he added. “Still, we are not stopping at that and we continuously monitor the financial inclusion index at the apex regulator level. Financial literacy and digital literacy are other areas where we are focussing a lot to help people and to safeguard them from any frauds etc,” Khara said. He further said that analytics done on these accounts, which began as zero-balance but have grown beyond that, also helps in offering them business loans for whatever little businesses they are running or are planning to set up.