Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma on Wednesday launched micro ATM and distributed the same to the Business Correspondent Agents (BCAs).
The event, organised at Yojana Bhavan in Main Secretariat, Shillong, was also attended by Meghalaya community & rural development minister Hamletson Dohling.
Micro ATM is a hand-held device, which will be operated by the BCA in rural areas to enable access to banking services, particularly withdrawals.
The initiative is being promoted by the Meghalaya State Rural Livelihood Society (MSRLS) in partnership with Meghalaya Rural Bank (MRB) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
In June this year, the MSRLS had signed an MoU with MRB to roll out the BCA project whereby 84 Self Help Groups (SHGs), who were functioning as ‘bank sakhi’ and positioned with MRB branches are being engaged as BCA.
In his address, chief minister Sangma said the micro ATMs will provide access to basic banking services in rural areas, which will empower the rural population as far as banking needs are concerned.
“Micro ATMs will take banking services to the doorsteps in rural areas,” the chief minister asserted.
Citing that low penetration of banking infrastructure and financial services in the rural areas has posed a challenge, the Sangma said, “In absence of basic banking services in rural areas implementation of various development and welfare schemes are delayed because people have to travel far distance for basic banking needs.”
Terming that the micro ATMs will augment the banking services in rural areas, the CM said, “Providing banking infrastructure and financial services is a huge challenge that most states face including ours and with this initiative of using technology coupled with trained manpower we have the opportunity to transform lives and livelihood of the people.”
At the launch of the initiative, chief minister and C&RD minister handed over micro ATMs to select BCAs from across the state and urged the authorities to further increase such services to cover unreached banking areas.