In order to provide basic banking services in rural India, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), under the Ministry of Rural Development, has recently deployed 50,000 women SHG members as BC Sakhi. These business correspondents (BC) will provide doorstep banking services in every gram panchayat (GP). The initiative has been named as the ‘One GP one BC Sakhi’ mission. It is proposed to deploy at least one BC Sakhi in each of 250,000 gram panchayats by the end of 2023-24.
DAY-NRLM has initiated a process of engagement of women self-help group (SHG) members as business correspondents for providing basic banking services in rural India. To boost cashless and digital transactions amongst SHGs and their members, state rural livelihoods missions (SRLMs) have been advised to coordinate with different banks including regional rural banks (RRBs) operating in their state to engage SHG members as their BCs.
The women SHG members are provided one week’s residential training at Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) established by the lead bank of the district and they have to pass an online examination conducted by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF), Mumbai for getting the certification as per guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that each business correspondent should be IIBF certified.
The 96 per cent of the women SHG members in the rural areas who have appeared for this examination have cleared it. More than 54,000 Women SHG members have been trained and certified by IIBF as Business Correspondent so far. The cost of training and IIBF certification is borne by the Ministry of Rural Development.
DAY–NRLM has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CSC e-Governance India, an associate of the Ministry of Information and Technology, to engage women SHG members as ‘DigiPay Sakhi’ to provide basic banking facilities in the rural areas. Under the MoU, CSC e-Governance India provides one fingerprint device also to SHGs members to start basic banking service through DigiPay Application on their mobile handset. The cost of the fingerprint device is also borne by the Ministry of Rural Development. These DigiPay Sakhis will also provide payment facilities for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and other subsidies under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the rural community at doorsteps.
All SRLMs have conducted district level programmes and ensured Jan Bhagidari including the participation of local public representatives, participating bankers, CSC representatives, women SHG members and other important functionaries in the districts to achieve the goal of dedicating 50,000 Women SHG members as business correspondents.
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