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Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, reviewed the progress towards Financial Inclusion by banks in India with Dr. D. Subbarao, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, and Shri R. Gopalan, Secretary (Financial Services). Deputy Governors RBI, Mrs. Usha Thorat and Dr. K.C. Chakrabarty were also present. PM was briefed on the efforts being made by banks to reach banking services through information and communication technology based models and banking intermediaries to 73,000 rural habitations having population of over 2000 as per the 2001 census by March, 2012.

Chairman, State Bank of India, Shri O.P. Bhatt, and CMD, Punjab National Bank, Shri K.R. Kamath presented through hand-held devices the various technologies of branchless banking being used by them to reach banking services in the rural interiors. These services include deposit, withdrawal, remittance and other facilities.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the safety and security measures put in place for such banking transactions being executed through the business correspondents. The Prime Minister desired that these technology driven banking models must be fully exploited to ensure that the benefits under the various Government programs such as NREGA, pensions etc become available to the beneficiaries living in remote villages faster, more efficiently and with lesser intermediation cost.

Presently, India has about 32000 rural bank branches, and the government in order to facilitate inclusive growth throughout the country has in the Budget Speech 2010-2011 directed banks to extend the reach of financial services to all the villages having a population of more than 2000. This would enable the rural hinterland to become fully connected with the financial sector in India.

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