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ICICI Group to transform 500 villages in to Digital Villages

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ICICI Group is planning to transform 500 villages in to digital villages by December, 2017.

ICICI Group today dedicated 100 ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ to the nation, marking the bank’s efforts to partner the nation’s progress by empowering rural India.

Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance, Defence & Corporate Affairs inaugurated the event, ‘ICICI Rural Summit – ‘Sashakt Gaon, Samriddh Bharat’.

The inauguration of the digital villages follows the bank’s commitment given in November 2016 to transform 100 villages into ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ in as many days. The programme involves end to end digitisation of transactions and other commercial activities, providing vocational training to villagers, extending credit facility and helping the villagers to access markets and earn a sustainable livelihood.

Speaking at the event, Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Bank said: “In line with our vision of ‘Sashakt Gaon, Samridhh Bharat’, we have transformed 100 villages across the country in 100 days. We have created a less cash ecosystem at these villages, provided vocational training to over 11,300 villagers, including more than 7,500 women and offered them credit linkages. We have done all of these in the past 100 days.

“We intend to expand the number of such villages by another 500 by December 2017. In the process, we will train an additional 50,000 individuals and impact 12.5 lakh lives,” added Kochhar.

These villages are spread across the length and breadth of the country, the villagers here can use digital channels for banking and payments transactions. They can also open bank accounts using Aadhar-based e-KYC (electronic Know Your Customer), make cashless payments at retail stores using Point-of-Sale (POS) machines and use an SMS based mobile solution. Villagers can also deposit and withdraw cash at their doorstep.

The digitisation at the village dairy co-operative units enables the societies to pay the members digitally and directly into their bank accounts.

Additionally, ICICI Bank in association with ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth (ICICI Foundation), the CSR arm of the ICICI Group, is imparting free vocational training to the villagers with a special focus on training women. As of now, over 11,300 villagers, including more than 7,500 women, have been trained in the last 100 days to help them earn a sustainable livelihood. The bank is also extending credit facilities to credit-worthy trained villagers in a bid to boost self-employment opportunities in the villages. The programme has positively impacted the lives of nearly 2.5 lakh people here.

In January 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dedicated the first ‘ICICI Digital Village’ at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, to the nation at an event commemorating 60 years of the ICICI Group.

The 100 villages which have been transformed into ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ are located across 17 states in India. These include 16 in Gujarat, 14 each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, 12 each in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and 11 in Rajasthan among others.

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