Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday declared Kerala the first State to enable digital banking in all eligible accounts.
The State now has at least one product in 3.76 crore accounts enabled digitally, according to the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC). In 2021, Thrissur become the first district in the State to implement digital banking under the ‘‘Expanding and Deepening of Digital Payments Ecosystem’ scheme of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Mr. Vijayan expressed the hope that digital banking would stimulate the State economy. Digital banking targets could be fully achieved only when sweeping social interventions complemented infrastructure additions and technological advances in the banking sector, he said.
He said 90% of work on the Kerala Fiber Optic Network (KFON) had been completed. Optical fibre cable had been drawn over a distance of 17,155 km. The public would gain cost-effective access to the Internet once the project was completed. The project envisaged linking of government offices to the network and arranging over 2,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the State, he said.
The digital divide should disappear for digital facilities and services to be universally accessible, he said.
Technological advances also underscored the need to be vigilant against cybercrimes in the banking sector. The government had created the Economic Offences Wing in the State police to tackle such offences. But preventing them through public awareness and cooperation of the banking sector was paramount, he said.
The government had undertaken, through local bodies, a programme to raise digital literacy. That Kerala had won three awards at the recent Digital India Awards instituted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, showed the State’s commitment to implementing efficient digital mechanisms, he said.
SLBC convener S. Premkumar, RBI Regional Director Thomas Mathew, NABARD Chief General Manager Gopakumaran Nair G., State Bank of India (Thiruvananthapuram circle) Chief General Manager Venkata Ramana Bayireddy were present.