Financial inclusion is a practice that enables us to expand the reach of financial services to unbanked areas, observes Rajeev Rishi, Chairman & Managing Director, Central Bank of India, in an interview with Veena Kurup of ENN
Brief us on the shift in the approach towards your investments in Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
The Central Bank of India had to invest in RIDF as we were not able to complete our allotment towards the agricultural and priority sector. However, as soon as we achieve 40 percent of our Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC), there would not be any requirement to further make investments in RIDF.
We are quite optimistic of achieving 40 percent of ANBC this financial year as this will open new avenues and enable more savings from the investments into other arenas, which otherwise would have been allotted for RIDF initiatives.
What is the bank’s approach to the opportunities in the infrastructure sector?
Infrastructure is one of our country’s core economy drivers. The sector has a vital importance in our socio-economic and political eco-systems. The Central Bank of India has always looked upon and continued to view infrastructure as one of the prospective economic sectors. Although the sector had witnessed a slowdown in the last fiscal, due to uncertainties in the project execution and developments, I am sure that our country does need more infrastructures and the sector will only develop further in the years to come.
Also, with our country witnessing a constant rise in the population, the demand for infrastructure is only going to ascend. However, the sector is still witnessing few operational hurdles, but such hiccups prevail in all economic activities and we are quite confident about the situation to improve in the coming years. The Central Bank has always maintained a positive approach towards lending for the infrastructure sector and we are optimistic to continue with the same approach.
Please share with us your outlook on banks utilising technology and tech-enabled services for implementing financial inclusion activities.
Financial inclusion is of vital importance for any emerging economy and our country definitely requires it. There are no two opinions about the importance and need for financial inclusion in India. We cannot have a huge segment of our society excluded from the formal financial ecosystem. Hence, it is imperative to have initiatives like financial inclusion in practice which enables us to expand the reach of financial services to the population residing in unbanked areas.
We welcome any effective way to adopt and implement financial inclusion. Technology has only contributed to enhance the availability of banking and financial services to a wider base of population in our country. Mobile phones have emerged as one such prospective mode of initiating financial inclusion. However, along with financial inclusion the need for financial literacy and awareness about the banking services is also crucial.
Tell us about the newly-launched Mobile Banking Application and EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa)-compliant RuPay debit card.
The Mobile Banking Application focusses on promoting environment-friendly banking channels and facilitates all types of customers to gain our banking services. On the other hand, the debit card helps the traders draw Rs. 40, 000 per day or Rs. 1 lakh in cash for international transactions. The card is acceptable at all financial channels involving ATMs, PoS machines and e-commerce activities.