Bhubaneswar, April 11: India's digital divide is glaring. On the one hand, cities and towns in the country have almost turned digitalised; on the other hand, most of the villages are yet to have access to computers and internet. In an attempt to streamline the banking system with the help of technology, country's largest public sector bank, State Bank of India or SBI, has adopted Odisha's Bhagabanpur village on Tuesday.
A large number of village people attended the SBI ceremony which aims at total digitalisation of Bhagabanpur. According to a tweet by ANI, the SBI adopted the village to make its residents adopt cashless banking transactions.
Odisha: State Bank of India adopted Bhagabanpur village in an initiative to make residents of the village to adopt cash-less transactions. pic.twitter.com/Qcik5NdcqU— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2018
Chief general manager (CGM) of SBI Praveena Kala said that the bank gave mobile and Aadhaar-enabled machines to 20 shopkeepers who sell various food and grocery items and medicines.
"Anybody who has Aadhaar seeded to their accounts can make purchases using thumb impression. We want to make Bhagabanpur a totally digital village," Kala told ANI.
Gave mobiles & Aadhaar enabled machines to 20 shop-keepers who sell daily use items, medicines etc. Anybody who has a bank a/c with Aadhaar seeded to their a/c can make purchases using thumb impression. Want to make Bhagabanpur a totally digital village: Praveena Kala, CGM, SBI pic.twitter.com/TgXawpVE5K— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2018
Last year, corporate bank ICICI achieved the feat of turning 100 Indian villages totally digitalised in 100 days. The Narendra Modi government has been pushing for the use of technology in the banking sector as a part of its grand dream of "digital India".
In fact, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led current regime at the Centre maintains that the much-criticised demonetisation of high-value currency notes in November 2016 was done to turn banking sector more tech-savvy, especially at the users' end.
While it is a laudable step to encourage everyone to go online for all banking transactions, critics maintain that poor internet connectivity and lack of access to gadgets are great stumbling blocks for poor and marginalised to turn tech-savvy.
Welcoming the move of SBI, residents of the Odisha village said that the initiative will go a long way in turning Bhagabanpur digital.