Patna, Dec 06 (UNI) The Punjab National Bank (PNB) today introduced a unique branchless banking service under a pilot project at Tineri village near here with a view to taking the banking services to the remotest corners of the country.
Launching the new service PNB Chairman and Managing Director K C Chakraborty described the initiative not only as part of the bank's social responsibility, but also as a ''holistic approach'' towards providing basic banking facilities to the poorest of the poor in all corners of the country.
Tineri, situated about 65 km from here under Masaurhi block of Patna district is the second such village in the country after Neemrana in Alwar district of Rajasthan where PNB had decided to set up the branchless banking facility to serve the poor who had no idea about the diversifed banking services.
''Though this is a pilot project to access the acceptability of basic banking services to the remote villagers,most of whom are illiterate and has little or no idea about the value for money,we hope this would soon open up a new window of opportunity for them'', Mr Chakraborty opined.
He said under the project each family in the village would be provided with a biometric card,a thermal filter and a Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile hand set at a total cost of only Rs 110, at least half of which was expected to come from the state government as subsidy.
In return each customer would be allowed to open a savings bank account even with zero balance in the branchless banking system. All transaction could thus be made with the biometric card and the NFC, he explained.
Reiterating PNB's plan to further broadbase its nationwide financial inclusion programme,the Chairman said special emphasis had been given to bring the Indo-Gangetic belt under the project before the end of the current financial year along with the rest of the country.
He said every state government in the region including Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam had been requested to extend necessary assistance and all of them had reciprocated positively.
Asked about his plan for Bihar, Mr Chakraborty said they had earmarked Buxar, Rohtas, Gaya and Bhojpur districts for bringing them under the total financial inclusion programme within the next six months. However, a lot depended on the success at Tineri, he emphasised.
Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to improve the state's tele- banking network following RBI's directives in this regard,the State Bank of India (SBI) Bihar Circle, launched the online share trading facility for the people of Bihar and Jhakhand here last night.
The new product e-Z-trade@sbi, launched in association with Motilal Oswal Securities Limited, was presently rolled out for the customers in Patna, Ranchi and Jamshedpur before extending them to other smaller cities and towns like Muzaffarpur,Darbhanga, Bokaro, Katihar, Purnea, Dhanbad and Bhagalpur before March 31, 2008, SBI, Chief General Manager, Bihar Circle, A Krishna Kumar said while inaugurating the new service.