Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank Announces Plans to Digitize 500 Villages While Dedicating 100 Villages to the Nation

ICICI Group dedicated 100 Digital Villages to the nation as a way to empower rural India. Arun Jaitely, Union Minister of Finance, Defence & Corporate Affairs inaugurated the event for the announcement.

The programme involves end-to-end digitization of transactions and other commercial activities, providing vocational training to villagers, extending credit facility and helping the villagers to access markets and earn a sustainable livelihood.
Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank told Business Insider, “We have created a less cash ecosystem at these villages, provided vocational training to over 11,300 villagers including more than 7500 women and offered them credit linkages in the past 100 days. We have also disbursed INR 14 crore worth of loans in this time frame to these villages in 17 Indian states. This has enabled 70-80% of the villagers to become independent.”

Ms. Kochhar also announced the expansion of the initiative to another 500 villages, “We intend to expand the number of such villages by another 500 by December 2017. In that process, we will train another 50,000 people and affect 12.5 lives.”
How does a ‘Digital Village’ work

The villagers here can use digital channels for banking and payments transactions.

They can also open a bank account using Aadhaar-based e-KYC, making cashless payments at retail stores using Point-of-sale (POS) machines, and use an SMS based mobile solution. Villagers can also deposit and withdraw cash at their doorstep.

The bank has provided an SMS-based mobile service which facilitates the villagers to transfer funds, receive SMS alerts & mini-statements to know their account balance. It is available in 10 regional languages- Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telegu.

Besides that, over 206 POS and micro-ATMs have been installed across these villages.
The digitization at the village dairy co-operative units enables the societies to pay the members digitally and directly into their bank accounts.

The villages are present in 17 states; 16 in Gujarat, 145 in Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh, 12 each in Tamil Nadu & Karnataka and 11 in Rajasthan among others.