Banks asked to review activity levels in financial inclusion a/cs

Banks asked to review activity levels in financial inclusion a/cs New Delhi: Government has asked public sector banks (PSBs) to review the level of activity in rural accounts which were opened under financial inclusion drive.

The state-owned banks were recently asked to ensure one account per family in the country to facilitate direct transfer of subsidy under 32 central schemes.

"It has been decided to review the activity level in FI (financial inclusion) accounts in villages having population of over 2,000 on quarterly basis ....," the Finance Ministry said in a communication to the heads of the state-owned banks.

It further said the information sought may be furnished to the Department of Financial Services on quarterly basis within seven days from the end of the quarter.

With an aim at financial inclusion, 'Swabhimaan' campaign was launched in 2010-11 to extend banking facilities in unbanked villages with a population of over 2,000 and over 74,000 such villages were covered.

Under the campaign, over 3.25 crore bank accounts in rural areas were opened.

Banks have also been asked to establish an 'Ultra Small Branch' in each such village with a bank official visiting them at least once a week.

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.

To promote financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank has asked banks to drop the 'no-frills' tag from the basic saving accounts as the nomenclature has become a stigma.

PTI