Lucknow: Fino Payments Bank is working with the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM) to train and on-board 10000 women from Self Help Groups (SHG) as BC Sakhis in the state. The agreement in this regard was signed today at an event organised by the UP Government in the presence of the state’s Honourable Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The project, implemented over the next three months, is part of UPSRLM’s mission to on-board around 58,000 women as BC (business correspondent) Sakhis or banking agents across all the 75 districts of the state. Fino is one of banking partners and facilitators engaged for the project to appoint BC Sakhis. The project is aimed at improving banking access in rural UP and enhancing the household income of the SHG members.
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“The project is a significant step towards financial independence of SHG members,” said Ashish Ahuja, Chief Operating Officer, Fino Payments Bank. “It is an opportunity for women in rural areas to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit and improve income. As banking agents in the villages they play a critical role in helping people adopt banking services. We are pleased to work with UP SRLM in improving banking access by providing opportunities to SHG members as BC Sakhis.”
“Fino has been earmarked with this opportunity basis its 15 years’ experience in enabling financial inclusion in rural India. Initially as the largest corporate BC in the country and now as a Payments Bank, Fino brought millions of people into the formal banking fold. Our network of more than 5.5 lakh merchants across the country is our strength and the mandate from UPSRLM will help us further strengthen it,” saidAmit Kumar Jain, EVP & Head-Alliances, Fino Payments Bank.
The 10,000 BC Sakhis are in addition to the already existing over 50,000 Fino merchants in Uttar Pradesh. “We are happy to be part ofthis project along with the state government that allows us to work towards women empowerment and create employment opportunities in these difficult times. We are confident this leads to Atmanirbhar Bharat from the village-up level,” added Mr. Jain.
Support to BC Sakhis:
Fino Payments Bank in association with UPSRLM will train BC Sakhis and provide them with training tool-kit for which the activity has already commenced across districts. Post the training and on-boarding, UPSRLM will facilitate loans for the BC Sakhis for device purchase and working capital through the SHG.
As part of the broader National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) initiative, each BC Sakhi will also receive financial support for the first six months, a total of Rs 24000to help her in the initial phase. The BC Sakhi will be equipped with an integrated POS device, cash box and fake currency identifier that allow her to provide all basic banking services, except credit. Further, to encourage safe transactions in the current COVID scenario, a contactless IRIS scanner for customer authentication will also be provided.
In addition to the UPSRLM project, Fino Payments Bank under the aegis of NRLM is also working with Bihar SRLM to provide livelihood to women associated with the state’s Jeevika project.
It may be noted that Fino Payments Bank’s technology enabled alternate merchant channel is fast emerging as a preferred go to point for banking in rural areas. The need for banking points closer to home or workplace has opened opportunities for small merchants such as kirana and mobile shops.
This became more evident during the pandemic when the bank provided livelihood or income enhancing opportunity to more than 1.2 lakh people from the rural hinterlands across the country. In Uttar Pradesh alone, more than 25000 youth became Fino banking points that helped bring banking closer to the homes of people.