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Samarth Campaign: Digital Transactions for 50,000 Indian Village Councils

The Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, officially launched the Samarth campaign to promote digital transactions in 50,000 gram panchayats (village councils). The campaign commenced in February and will end in August. The objective is to encourage digital transactions in rural regions and gram panchayats, with a particular focus on empowering women. The campaign is part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative, which commemorates 75 years of India’s independence.

According to Singh, there has been a significant reduction in the Non-Performing Assets (NPA) of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) from 9.58% in 2013 to below 2% presently. The Minister urged banks to acknowledge the remarkable credit repayment track record of SHGs and support them with higher loan facilities. He also recognised the crucial role played by BC Sakhis in promoting digital transactions, highlighting India’s emergence as a global leader in this area. BC Sakhis refer to SHG members who utilise electronic devices such as a laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet to conduct banking transactions while working in the field.

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh emphasised the significant impact of BC Sakhis in the state. He highlighted that they have facilitated 55.7 million digital transactions in Uttar Pradesh, contributing to the digital transformation of the region. Not only have they ensured last-mile doorstep banking across villages, but they have also helped banks save costs on low-volume transactions. He praised the BC Sakhis for their role in enabling rural communities to encash over Rs IN 750 billion (US$ 9 billion) of Government Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) funds.

During the event, a compendium containing 75 Inspirational Tales of BC Sakhis was unveiled, along with live testimonies from BC Sakhis. Also, newly selected BC Sakhis were provided with Biometric Point-of-Sale (PoS) machines, which enable secure and efficient transactions. These devices empower BC Sakhis to carry out their banking responsibilities effectively. The newly selected BC Sakhis were also presented with Certificates of On-boarding, acknowledging their inclusion in this important role within the Indian banking system.

The Indian government has been actively pushing for digital payments as part of its broader agenda for financial inclusion and a cashless economy. The government has implemented various initiatives and campaigns to promote digital payments across the country. The introduction of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has revolutionised the way people transfer money, allowing instant and secure transactions through mobile phones.

In February, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, launched the Digital Payments Utsav, a comprehensive campaign aimed at promoting digital payments across India. As OpenGov Asia reported, the project will hold a series of events and initiatives over the next few months.

The focus of the campaign will be on promoting digital payments in the country, especially in the cities of Lucknow, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru, as part of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) event.

The launch of the Digital Payments Utsav marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to promote digital payments and drive digital transformation in India. The comprehensive campaign is expected to bring together various stakeholders, including the government, industry, and citizens, to drive the growth of the digital economy and promote financial inclusion.


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