Narendra Modi dedicates ICICI Digital Village to the nation

Prime minister Narendra Modi dedicated the 'ICICI Digital Village' to the nation yesterday at an event organised to celebrate the ICICI Group's 60 years of partnering India in its in its progress.

The prime minister was the chief guest at the occasion where ICICI Bank announced the creation of the  'ICICI Digital Village' at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. Villagers would be able to use technology in various aspects of life, including banking, cash payments, education and healthcare among others. The village would have paperless financial transactions, paperless text books and children would read books on LED monitors and Tabs. Patients could avail the facility of telemedicine with Wi-Fi connectivity available across the village.

Union minister of finance, corporate affairs and information & broadcasting Arun Jaitley, governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao and chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis were also present at the event.

Speaking at the event, Chanda Kochhar, managing director & CEO, ICICI Bank said: ''It is a great honour for us to have the prime minister here with us today on this historic occasion. Technology has been a defining feature of our strategy in everything that we do. ICICI Bank revolutionised the banking experience for Indian customers by launching electronic channels on a large scale - from ATMs to internet banking. In recent years, we have rapidly scaled up mobile banking and launched automated 24/7 Touch Banking branches as well as banking on social media. We continue to roll out innovative and convenient solutions for customers in both urban and rural India, leveraging technology. We are proud to have converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village into a digital village. Our objective has been to show that technology can be used to eliminate barriers that separate rural and urban India. We hope that it will catalyse similar initiatives across the country and recreate rural India.''

Meanwhile, Modi urged people to invest their money in banks instead of buying gold and keeping it safely, which was generally considered as an unproductive investment, The Financial Express reported.

According to Modi, Indians had a good habit of savings, but these savings had diverted to gold over the time as a measure of security and banks were faced with a challenge to look into ways to discourage huge amounts of money being kept in gold.

''The challenge is not to rely on gold. People buy gold and they have that psychological feeling that gold is safe, secure and good for the future… the challenge for banks was to assure people that a bank account would ensure easy access to their savings whenever required,'' Modi said while dedicating the ICICI Digital Village to the nation, adding this could help banks become the agents of social transformation.