The blitzkrieg is a first of its kind to make the hinterland digital savvy.
ICICI Bank on Monday said it will help put 100 villages in 100 days on the digital highway, a move that comes on the heels of its success with the country’s first “digital village” created by it at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat last year as part of its 60th-anniversary celebration.
In a statement, ICICI Bank said this move is part of its efforts to provide a digital ecosystem across the country in the wake of demonetisation of high-value currencies.
“… it will enable villagers to use digital channels for banking and payments transactions… will be able to open bank accounts using Aadhar-based e-KYC and make cashless payments to retail stores through a mobile solution,” ICICI Bank said.
The bank in association with ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth -- the corporate social responsibility arm of the ICICI Group -- will impart vocational training to nearly 10,000 underprivileged villagers, especially women, to help them earn a sustainable livelihood. It will also extend credit facilities to trained villagers in a bid to boost self-employment opportunities.
Said Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank: “ICICI Bank continues to be a catalyst to accelerate development in our country. We strongly feel that technology can play an important role in putting development on a fast lane. By leveraging technology, we converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village to India’s first digital village last year.”
She said its success motivates the bank to scale up the initiative in a bigger way. “We will now convert 100 villages across the country into digital villages. We will create a cashless ecosystem at these villages, provide vocational training to 10,000 villagers in first 100 days and offer them credit linkages so that the villagers can start their own business ventures. I am confident that this large project will contribute significantly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a Digital India.”
ICICI Bank will use tablet-based banking and Aadhar-based e-KYC to help villagers open accounts in few hours without physical documents. All adults in the villages will have saving accounts to Aadhar to enable direct transfer of government benefits into these accounts. There will be a dedicated branch and ATM of ICICI Bank to service these accounts.
A related aspect is that ICICI Foundation will impart training under its ‘ICICI Academy for Skills – Rural Initiative’ programme at these 100 villages. It will train 100 folks in each village, especially women, within as many days. Any underprivileged villager, in the age bracket of 18 to 40 years, will be trained free of cost in a range of disciplines suited to the local economy.