New Delhi: The government has asked banks to focus on 'Urban Financial Inclusion' to ensure at least one bank account per family among poor in cities.
The directive comes at a time when the government has been "emphasising the need" for transferring all benefits including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) wages and various cash subsidies to beneficiaries by direct credit to their bank accounts.
"These beneficiaries are not only inhabitants of rural villages but also comprises of urban poor and slum dwellers residing in the Urban/ Metro centres," the Finance Ministry circular to all State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) said.
Earlier in May, banks were asked to launch a campaign to ensure at least one bank account for each family in villages.
"In order to provide banking services to entire population residing in Urban and Metro Centres... It has been decided that the said campaign to ensure one bank account per family should also be launched in such Urban areas for the purpose of Urban Financial Inclusion," it said.
The 'Urban Financial Inclusion' campaign would cover urban poor, slum dwellers and inhabitants of urban/metro villages.
As per 2011 census, about 58.7 percent households had reported availing of banking facilities. Out of the 24.69 crore households, 14.48 crore reported availing banking services. Nearly 10 crore households were not availing the services.
Referring to the financial inclusion drive in rural areas, the ministry further said it has been observed that some banks while opening accounts, are not capturing the biometric details of the customers.
Since accounts opened under the campaign would facilitate Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), banks should ensure to capture biometric details of the customer, as done under the 'Swabhimaan' campaign, the ministry added.
'Swabhimaan' aims at providing branch-less banking through use of technology and banks provide basic services including deposits, withdrawals and remittances using the services of Business Correspondents.