Ernakulam district is all set to be declared as a fully banked district by the Governor of RBI on November 22. Every household in the district will have a bank account under the scheme for financial inclusion being undertaken by the banks, monitored by the RBI.
The district will be officially known as the first meaningful financial inclusive district. Accordingly, micro credit, remittance and insurance needs could be routed through the bank accounts.
While preparations for the function were in full swing, The Hindu had reported that there were cases of exclusion. A sample survey conducted among those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ indicated that there were people who were out of the ambit of financial inclusion. The banks responded to the report positively. After The Hindu reported that several houses in a Dalit colony in Tripunithura had no bank accounts, bank personnel made an intensive effort to enrol over 50 people in the locality.
The financial inclusion project aims to achieve 100 per cent participation and the banks are in pursuit of the goal. As of now, 98 per cent achievement has been made and the remaining days will witness an increase in the tally, the bank personnel explained at a press conference on Monday, in concurrence with the report published earlier.
This newspaper had also reported the absence of ATMs in Kadamakkudy panchayat in the district. Efforts have been intensified to locate an ATM there, in the wake of the report, sources said.
The existing norms for setting up an ATM focus on viability which could be achieved only if over 100 ‘hits’ are received at the machine daily. The islands of Kadamakkudy were excluded obviously because of such limiting factors. The key question which remained unanswered is whether the banks have a social commitment to extend services to the needy, beyond the profitability factor.
C.V.George, General Manager, RBI, said 43 banks in the district were striving for over a year, to achieve total meaningful inclusion. The district, with more than 6 lakh households and a population exceeding 32 lakh, has more than 37 lakh savings bank accounts now. Multiple bank accounts are very common here; even migrant labourers are allowed to open accounts with banks, S. Jayamohan Nair, Deputy General Manager, Union Bank of India, said.
The banking personnel of 842 bank branches in the district were allocated specified locations to work upon to achieve the target.