BHUBANESWAR: In a major step towards achieving financial inclusion in the State, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday launched ‘Bank on Wheels’, a mobile banking services initiative that aims to reach out to untouched populace in the remote rural parts.
The first of its kind project to be undertaken by the Odisha State Cooperative Bank (OSCB) will cover 16 backward districts concentrating on 20 blocks without any banking presence. Naveen flagged off 20 vans equipped with ATM, information kiosk and full-fledged mobile branches to the intended districts at a function held here.
The Bank on Wheels will benefit lakhs of people, particularly farmers, by providing banking services, including loans at their doorsteps. “In the first phase, 16 districts are being covered and gradually, the service will be extended to all the blocks. More than 55 lakh farmers’ households and primary agricultural cooperative societies will be benefited from this initiative,” the Chief Minister said.
He also inaugurated the core banking data management centre which connects 355 branches and units of OSCB, affiliated district central cooperative banks and urban cooperative banks in core banking solutions. The bank has also come under National Payments Corporation of India gateway along with affiliated Central cooperative banks to provide ATM facility to customers through 1.88 lakh ATM kiosks across all banks in the country. The CM also launched RuPay debit cards of OSCB for the purpose.
Naveen directed the State Cooperation Department to prepare a roadmap for conversion of Kisan credit cards to smart cards to facilitate loans for farmers through ATM kiosks. All primary agricultural cooperative societies should be computerised and Kisan credit card conversion should be completed within a year, he said.
Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout said the core banking solution and RuPay debit card would facilitate direct credit of paddy procurement proceeds, insurance indemnity claims and other subsidies and incentives meant for farmers in their accounts.
Cooperative banks have been providing around 70 per cent of crop loans disbursed in the State and with adoption of IT-enabled technology, it will be easier for the Government to formulate various schemes for farmers as well as enable timely interventions during need.
President, OSCB, Akshaya Mohanty and managing director TK Panda were present.