Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today called for greater involvement of banks in achieving financial inclusion of the country's poor.
Addressing the `Financial Inclusion Summit' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Delhi, he asked bankers to develop "a viable, credible and replicable business model for bringing rural and urban poor in the national banking system."
Mukherjee said the process of financial inclusion needs to be undertaken in a mission mode and in a time-bound manner.
With just 6 per cent of the country's 6,00,000 villages having a bank branch as of today, the finance minister said, the 87,000-odd bank braches in the country are not sufficient to cater to all sections of society.
While financial inclusion is a key determinant of sustainable and inclusive growth, he said, only 40 per cent of the people in the country have savings bank accounts.
The immediate priority the, he said, then is to make financial services available to unbanked areas through new technologies like mobile banking facilities, no frills accounts, tele-banking, internet banking, biometric cards, smart cards, call centres, business correspondents, and core banking solutions among others.
He also called for imparting financial literacy to make the vulnerable sections of society aware of the benefits of financial services made available to them.