BC Sakhis Contributing Actively To Digital Transactions In Rural India, Says Experts
Digital transactions in India have seen a rapid increase in recent years at the grassroots level. This has been made possible through the Banking Correspondent Sakhis, or the BC Sakhis, who have been ushering in paradigm shifts in the areas of digital finance, commerce and business. This was stated by the participants at the National Conclave to promote digital transactions at Gram Panchayat level, which opened at Lucknow on Thursday.
This conclave, titled Samarth, was organised by the Ministry of Rural Development’s Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), supported by the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission and aimed at establishing new milestones in inclusive development by establishing and empowering rural women through Self Help Groups (SHG).
The BC Sakhi programme of DAY-NRLM ensures that SHGs and rural families across the country have access to various banking services such as cash withdrawal, deposit, account opening, insurance, electricity bill payment, etc. while eliminating the need for rural residents to visit banks for these transactions, saving time and expenses along the way.
The conclave was inaugurated by Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Inaugurating the conclave, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that in the state, BC Sakhis are not only an example of women’s empowerment, but also function as self-mini branches of banks in every village, handling all the banking transactions. Chief Minister Yogi said that in the past 6 years, the government has achieved success in providing housing facilities to more than 54 lakh poor people in rural and urban areas.
Speaking on the occasion Raghavendra Pratap Singh, Director – Rural Livelihoods, DAY-NRLM said, “BC Sakhis are making commendable efforts to promote digital transactions in line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. We have taken note of the various bottlenecks highlighted by the BC Sakhis in financial transactions and doorstep delivery mechanisms during today’s deliberations, and I assure everyone here, that DAY-NRLM will come out with mitigation measures so that we can bring maximum rural populace into the ambit of services provided by BC Sakhis”.
C. Indumathi, the Mission Director of UPSRLM, welcomed the BC Sakhis and representatives of 26 State Rural Livelihood Missions who are participating in the conclave. She shared a detailed progress report on the key components of the UPSRLM and the integration of various digital innovations with women in SHGs. She informed of the convergence with the Department of Basic Education wherein the details of beneficiaries is uploaded on an App which the BC Sakhis use to contact them for scholarship remittances.
The conclave created a platform for interactions with BC Sakhis on their journey, experiences, successes, challenges and way forward. The participants were split into four sub-groups for breakaway sessions for group discussions. Different groups explored possibilities of increasing transactions at BC points and discussed customer acquisition and the role of digital literacy in promoting digital transactions in rural areas.
Discussions also covered issues like digitising SHG transactions and its relevance, strategies, issues and roles of stakeholders, capacity building of BC Sakhis as entrepreneurs, service providers and facilitators addressing technical and operational issues.