Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the ‘ICICI Digital Village’ to the nation at an event which was organised to celebrate the ICICI Group’s 60 years of ‘partnering India’ in its progress. With PM Narendra Modi in attendance ICICI Bank announced that it has created the ‘ICICI Digital Village’ at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat to enable villagers to use technology in various aspects of life including banking, payments, education and healthcare among others – financial transactions will be cashless, text books paperless and patients can avail facility of telemedicine and wi-fi connectivity across the village.
The dedication of ICICI Digital Village to the nation marks ICICI Group’s 60 years of existence. The Group will complete 60 years on January 5, 2015.
Speaking at the event, Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Bank said: “Technology has been a defining feature of our strategy in everything that we do. We continue to roll out innovative and convenient solutions for customers in both urban and rural India, leveraging technology. We are proud to have converted Akodara in Gujarat from a village into a digital village. Our objective has been to show that technology can be used to eliminate barriers that separate rural and urban India. We hope that it will catalyse similar initiatives across the country and recreate rural India.”
The digital village initiative has three dimensions. The first dimension is to enhance access to banking and provide seamless banking services. For that:
- ICICI Bank is using pioneering technology of tab banking to open savings bank account. Tab Banking allows customers to open accounts without submitting physical documents. The accounts are being serviced by a dedicated branch and an ATM. All adults in the village now have saving accounts.
- ICICI Bank will provide technology-enabled banking services to the villagers including statements, alerts, remittances and fund transfers on the mobile phone. The villagers’ accounts are also being linked to Aadhar to enable direct transfer of government benefits into savings accounts.
- ICICI Bank is creating a cashless, digital payment ecosystem for the village. It has created an end-to-end payment solution leveraging Rupay cards and SMS banking at the village shops, at the mandi for sale of agri-produce and at the cooperative society for sale of milk. The APMC mandi at Himmatnagar, the district headquarters, will be the first cashless mandi in Gujarat
The second dimension of the initiative is to leverage technology in the social sectors for improvement in the lives of the villagers. For that,
- The Bank is digitizing school attendance and school records and implementing a school management software in the village school
- The Bank is providing smart boards, integrating projector and computer at the school and the anganwadi, with audio-visual digital content for classes 1 to 10
- It will provide digital access to telemedicine via mobile or video conference, giving villagers access to medical expertise
- The Bank will bring its skill development programme to the village through the ICICI Academy for Skills
The third dimension of the strategy is to create enabling infrastructure to make technology available, and access and disseminate information. The key elements of this are:
- High speed broadband connectivity throughout the village via wi-fi using a wi-fi tower
- Enabling farmers to access the latest information on prices of agricultural commodities on NCDEX.
- Creating a website for the village
- Establishing a water treatment plant to provide clean water to the villagers