Soon State Bank of India (SBI) will provide banking services through e-Gram project, the Gujarat Government-pioneered e-Gram project, which aims to provide e-Governance services in villages. SBI will provide checking of account balance, deposits, loans insurance and other banking services through the Internet.
With this service people from rural areas who live far away from a bank branch will be able to avail of banking products without having to personally visit the nearest branch. The bank is looking at targeting more than 5,000 rural ICT kiosks in the next one year to double up as its banking facilitator. Under the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, banks are permitted to use the services of non-governmental organisations/self-help groups, microfinance institutions and other civil society organisations as intermediaries in providing financial and banking services through the use of business facilitator and correspondent models. The initiative will enable villagers to start a bank account with deposit amount as low as INR 50. People can also maintain their account with zero balance. SBI has also signed an MoU with India Post to act as a facilitator for 50 post offices in a pilot project at Surendranagar, Anand and Bharuch districts in Gujarat. It has also signed up with Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation to market the bank's products in 700 outlets of the 1,200 outlets in the state.