Odisha launches ‘Ama Bank’ to provide banking services in rural areas

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In a landmark move, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has unveiled the “Ama Bank” scheme, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bridging the financial inclusion gap in the state.

A provision of Rs 500 crore has been made for this scheme, Patnaik said.On the inaugural day, 750 CSP-Plus outlets were opened.

This innovative program will establish CSP Plus banking outlets in all unbanked Gram Panchayats, providing much-needed banking services to the underserved rural populace.

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Six Public Sector Banks (PSBs) — State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), UCO Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India — were roped in for the scheme.

Addressing the Challenge of Financial Exclusion

Odisha, like many regions in India, faces the challenge of widespread financial exclusion. With approximately 65% of Gram Panchayats lacking a brick-and-mortar bank branch, rural residents endure significant hardships in accessing essential banking services.

This inaccessibility impedes their ability to participate fully in the economic sphere and hinders their progress towards financial empowerment.

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The Ama Bank Solution

The Ama Bank scheme tackles this challenge head-on by establishing CSP Plus banking outlets in every unbanked Gram Panchayat. These micro bank branches will offer a comprehensive range of banking services, including deposits, advances, remittances, loans, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System, credit linkage to SHGs, and coverage under social security schemes.

A Paradigm Shift in Financial Access

The Ama Bank initiative represents a paradigm shift in financial access for rural Odias. By bringing banking services to their doorsteps, the scheme will eliminate the need for arduous travel to distant bank branches.

This convenience will significantly enhance the financial inclusion of senior citizens, differently-abled individuals, and pregnant women, ensuring they receive timely and hassle-free access to Direct Benefit Transfers and other essential services.

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Empowering Rural Communities

The Ama Bank scheme extends beyond mere access to banking services. It empowers rural communities by enabling them to actively participate in economic activities. The availability of small business loans will foster entrepreneurship and income generation, driving rural economic growth and development.

A Model for the Nation

Odisha’s Ama Bank scheme stands as a beacon of innovation and commitment to financial inclusion. Its success has the potential to serve as a model for other states across India, paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous nation.

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