The State Bank of Travancore (SBT) has been allotted 29 of the 120 villages with a population of over 2,000 each in the State for implementing the Union government's Swabhiman programme for financial inclusion, a press release said here on Monday. The deadline set for achieving financial inclusion is March 31, 2012.

Under SBT “Sahaya Hastham” (helping hand), the name given by the bank for the project, a branch has been opened at Perumanna in Kozhikode district. The remaining 28 villages are covered through business correspondents based on an ICT (information and communication technology) platform.

For this, the bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the State-run Kudumbasree project. Women members of the Kudumbasree self-help groups had been engaged to work as customer service providers in the villages. No-frills savings bank accounts have been opened and more than 3,500 smart cards issued in the 28 villages.

The bank does not charge any fees for the services being offered to the cardholders. The bank will provide banking products such as recurring deposits and overdrafts for a maximum of Rs.10,000.