“ The bank has already created 100 digital villages across the country within 100 days and now plans to add 500 more to the list by year-end,” Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Limited.
The 100-village project, that also included imparting skill training and providing credit linkages to people, was initiated by the bank after noticing the inconvenience caused to people living in a model digital village in Gujarat during the demonetisation period, reported The Times of India.
“During the 100-day period, the bank provided vocational training to 11,300 villagers, including 70 per cent women, and opened more than 2 lakh bank accounts,” Kochhar added.
In addition to this, a credit linkage facility was also provided to many in these 100 villages to help them earn their livelihood.
“The bank has also provided loans to the tune of Rs 14 crore to customers of these 100 digital villages and with more addition, the credit flow is going up,” she said.
“We will transform another 500 villages into ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ by December 2017 and train another 50,000 individuals,” she said.
The project, which began in November 2016, was inspired by the success of India’s first digital village created by ICICI Bank Limited at Akodara in Gujarat in 2015.
“We were very happy with the work we did in Akodara 2 years ago. We noticed that during the demonetisation period, this village saw very less inconvenience compared to others, because of the digital banking and other infrastructure we had created there,” she added.
“This made us think that we can do more on this front and we decided to convert 100 villages into digital villages,” Kochhar said.
“What we also thought that we will add skill training and credit linkages to our work in those villages. This way we have been able to promote a ‘less cash’ ecosystem and also promote locally required skill sets in those areas,” she said.
Kochhar said the initiative has already covered 17 states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat,” she added.