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CSCs to be engaged as Banking Correspondents under pact with HDFC Bank

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Village-level entrepreneurs who run common services centres (CSC) in the country will operate as banking correspondents of HDFC Bank, with the two sides signing an agreement to this effect. The roping-in of CSC’s Village Level Entrepreneurs as banking correspondents would help HDFC Bank to extend various financial services in its bouquet, to people particularly in rural areas.

These services include opening of eKYC savings bank account, fixed deposits, remittances and fund transfer, cash withdrawal using Aadhaar Enabled Payment System, balance enquiry among others. To facilitate this, an agreement was signed between HDFC Bank MD Aditya Puri and CEO of CSC SPV (a Special Purpose Vehicle under the IT Ministry) Dinesh Kumar Tyagi in the presence of IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The network of CSCs currently act as access points for delivery of a slew of digital services in 2.10 lakh gram panchayats, and are run by three lakh village level entrepreneurs. Prasad termed the alliance as a “game changer” and said it will significantly contribute to Government’s objectives of enabling financial inclusion.

“Women, senior citizens and persons with disability will especially get benefitted through this initiative. This will facilitate withdrawal and deposit of government entitlements such as payments under MGNREGA as well as various social welfare schemes like widow pension, handicapped and old age pension, etc,” an official release said. The business correspondents under this pact will also function as Business Facilitator (BF), the statement said adding that this will enable merchants, youth, entrepreneurs, farmers and women to avail loan facility from the bank.

Commenting on the alliance, HDFC Bank’s Puri said “This ties in well with our ongoing social programmes which straddle financial literacy, financial inclusion and skilling at the bottom of the pyramid. This partnership is one more step in this direction”. In addition to this, HDFC Bank will support CSC’s drive to convert 1000 identified villages into digital villages or `Digi Gaon’ within this financial year. The two sides, however, did not specify the outlay earmarked for this.

CSC SPV is implementing ‘Digi Gaon’ initiative in rural and remote villages of the country, to bring online services of the central and State government to the doorstep of people. In the pilot project, CSC has adopted six villages in the country. HDFC Bank will also support CSC SPV by funding ‘Stree Swabhiman’ Sanitary Napkin Manufacturing Units.

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