Palakkad on Thursday became the third district in the State to declare 100% digital enabled banking services. Banking services in Thrissur and Kottayam have already become digital.
Inaugurating ‘Digital Palakkad’ here on Thursday, V.K. Sreekandan, MP, said that digital banking services could not only reduce the use of currency, but also help people save their time and money. “Waste of time is a loss for the nation. The time thus saved should be used for other purposes,” he said.
However, Mr. Sreekandan called upon the banks to rise above technical formalities and show empathy towards poor people. “As Mahatma Gandhi advised, people in villages should be kept in mind whenever reforms are chalked out,” he said.
Mr. Sreekandan advised the banks against supporting only the rich. “Think about the common man. You (banks) should realise that the future lies in your hands. Be kind and empathetic to common man,” he said.
Presiding over the function, District Collector Mrunmai Joshi exhorted the banks to go extra mile to parry online frauds in the banking sector. “You should take the initiative to create awareness among the people about the latest online bank frauds,” she said.
Palakkad Municipal Chairperson Priya Ajayan also underscored the necessity of creating wider awareness among the people about both digital means of banking and the dangers lurking in it.
About 35 lakh accounts in 500-odd branches of 32 banks functioning in the district were digitally enabled during a three-month intensive campaign carried out under the supervision of the Lead Bank. They included the banking services in Attappady and Parambikulam, two remote tribal areas in the district.
“We could reach out to the 200-odd tribal hamlets of Attappady in their language. Videos made in Irula tribal language were a big hit among the tribespeople,” said R.P. Sreenath, Lead District Manager.
Digital banking provides a wide variety of services, including debit or credit card, internet banking, mobile banking, and unified payment interface (UPI). Welcoming the gathering, Canara Bank regional head Govind Harinarayanan said that the digital banking service was no longer a luxury. “It has become a necessity for ordinary people.”
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Regional Director Thomas Mathew said that going digital was not for mere “record sake”. “In 2017, the payments made through UPI were only ₹50 lakh. But in July this year, the amount transacted through UPI was ₹10.68 crore. But the digital benefits should reach everyone,” he said.
RBI General Manager Cedric Lawrence said that everyone would be a VIP on digital platform. He said it was a matter of pride for Kerala as its 4.5 crore accounts were becoming digitally enabled. “Of all the districts, Palakkad has achieved the goal in the most popular manner,” Dr. Lawrence said.
Canara Bank General Manager S. Premkumar, RBI Deputy General Manager Gouthaman, State Bank of India Deputy General Manager V. Ramesh, RBI Lead District Officer E.K. Ranjit, NABARD District Development Manager Kavita Ram, Deputy Collector Revenue Recovery Abbas V.E., Lead Bank Officer Santhosh and several other government and banking officials attended the function.