The government announced three initiatives to take banking to the last mile comprising a financial inclusion index, geographical mapping of banking services and hassle-free online loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The initiatives were announced by the Finance Minister after reviewing the annual performance of public sector banks.
Financial Inclusion Index
Annual Financial Inclusion Index (FII) will measure access and usage of a basket of formal financial products and services that includes savings, remittances, credit, insurance and pension products.
It would rate states on their performance on last-mile banking services availability.
The index will have three measurement dimensions, viz. (i) access to financial services; (ii) usage of financial services; and (iii) the quality of the products and the service delivery. These are also the G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators.
FII will be released by January, 2019 by the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance.
Importance of FII-
Provide information on the level of financial inclusion,
Measure financial services for use of internal policy making,
It can be used directly as a composite measure in development indicators,
It enables fulfilment of G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators requirements.
It will also facilitate researchers to study the impact of financial inclusion and other macro-economic variables.
Loans for MSMEs
Launch of web portal www.psbloansin59minutes.com to enable in principle approval for MSME loans up to Rs. 1 crore within 59 minutes from SIDBI and 5 Public Sector Banks (SBI, Bank of Baroda, PNB, Vijaya and Indian Bank).
The Portal sets a new benchmark in loan processing and reduces the time from 20-25 days to 59 minutes. Subsequent to in principle approval, the loan will be disbursed in 7-8 working days.
The loans will be undertaken without human intervention till sanction and or disbursement stage. The MSME borrower is not required to submit any physical document for in-principle approval.
The portal uses sophisticated algorithms to read and analyse data points from various sources such as IT returns, GST data, bank statements, MCA21 etc. in less than an hour while capturing the applicants basic details.
Jan Dhan Darshak
It is a banking services infrastructure locator app, which aims to bring banking within reach of every citizen through over 500,000 "banking touch points".
Banking touch points are bank branches, banking correspondents, ATMs, common service centres and post offices.
The GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping of banking services will enable any person to find the nearest banking touch point.
The app comes with feedback mechanism and will also complement the government's initiative of having banking services available within five kilometres of every household.