Drabu For Stepwise Approach To Digital Banking

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JAMMU: Minister for Finance, Labour & Employment and Culture, Dr Haseeb A Drabu Wednesday said the concept of Digital Banking is not just about adopting technology in the existing banking system but to bring socio-economic change in the society. He said we should look beyond the technology and in a state like Jammu and Kashmir there are many important issues which need to be addressed before moving fully towards Digital Banking.

The Minister was addressing a special meeting of State Level Bankers Committee on Digital Banking held here Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Financial Commissioner Revenue, Lokesh Dutt Jha, Financial Commissioner Agriculture Production, Pramod Jain, Commissioner Secretary Finance, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Chairman J&K Bank Parvez Ahmad and Regional Director RBI Jammu N K Sahu.

The Finance Minister said J&K is having uncertain conditions and the transactional demand is very high especially in Kashmir. He asked the representatives of all the banks participating in the meeting to work out a strategy to get people into the process keeping in mind upgradation of required financial infrastructure.

Trust between customers and the banks are very essential for stepping into digital banking completely. “Once we build the trust, it will surely encourage people for opting to online mode of payment,” he said adding we can easily reduce the cash transactions by evolving an effective mechanism.

The Finance Minister stressed on involving institutions like Panchayats to be part of digital banking concept which will further help in building trust of the people in whole banking system. Dr Drabu asked the banks for making 100 digital Panchayats in 2017-18 so that the process could be then replicated in other Panchayats.

Dr Drabu also asked the banks to look at some specific solutions to the issue. He asked them to work on introducing preloaded cards having certain limit of amount deposited by the customer in it. This will d-link the card from the bank account and reduce work load.

Speaking on the issue of providing incentives to the people to go cashless, the Finance Minister said that convenience to the customers in banking system will encourage them to adopt the digital concept. He said that the government had already announced incentives on online payments in previous budget and will make it more attractive in the ensuing budget.

During the meeting stress was laid on increasing card base in the state by providing debit cards to all account holders by March 31, 2017 and encouraging them to go for cashless transactions. The Minister also asked Chairman J&K Bank to reconsider the concept of maintenance charges.

The Finance Minister said that it is easy to target customers below the age of 25 as they are more adaptable to the technology and they can easily push forward the digital banking movement. ‘To make the movement successful, we should involve the youth in the movement having better understanding of technology’, he added.

Dr Drabu asked the banks to exclusively work on Digital banking Awareness Programme and asked JK Bank to take lead in the whole movement as they are having maximum customers in the State. It is very important that the customers should link Aadhar with their bank accounts for better Aadhar compliance.

In order to strengthen the Common Service Centres (CSC) mechanism in the State by enabling more and more government to citizen services through CSCs, the Finance Minister asked J&K Bank to recommend such 20 services which can be added in the existing list and further becomes a contributing factor for the digital banking initiative in the state.

The banks informed the meeting about the initiatives already taken by them in expanding the card base and other steps to encourage people in joining digital banking movement. IT preparedness of banks with regard to demonetization was also discussed in the meeting.

Telecom representatives were asked to address the connectivity issue on priority especially in rural areas so that people have a dependable Digital banking option available with them. The meeting also agreed to focus especially on rural areas where the people are not adaptable to the technology.

‘Internet facility is imperative for digital banking movement and it needs to be looked into and addressed accordingly’, the Finance Minister said.

Dr Drabu also complimented the banking fraternity in rendering their services to the customers during this entire period of demonetization and providing customer friendly banking services to people.

Earlier, Chairman J&K Bank Parvez Ahmad, who is also the convener of SLBC informed the meeting about the various initiatives taken for promoting digital banking in J&K.

Among others, senior officers of various government departments, representatives of Public and Private Banks and representatives of Telecom companies attended the meeting.

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