216 mn people under financial inclusion via mobile banking: Aruna Sundararajan

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In the last eight months 216 million people have been brought under the ambit of financial inclusion using mobile banking. Now the number of people having bank accounts in the country has surged to 65%

Addressing the session on ‘A Digital Bridge to Growth’ at the IACC (Indo-American Chamber of Commerce) in Mumbai, Aruna Sundararajan, IAS, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, said, in the last eight months 216 million people have been brought under the ambit of financial inclusion using mobile banking. Now the number of people having bank accounts in the country has surged to 65%, she added.

Never before such a massive scale of enrollment in banking sector has happened in India. It is indicative of how digital space is connecting the government with the masses and vice versa. She also referred to how the direct transfer of subsidy to the marginalized people was made possible through mobile telephony and assured that more such welfare measures would be undertaken by the government with the help of technology.

Mentioning that digital platforms are penetrating at every walk of Indian public life, telecom secretary said 1.2 billion people would get digital identity through the Aadhar scheme. This has eased a number of challenges faced by the common man. Earlier, for accessing every bit of information about an individual, the certificate of a village officer or any other officer at the grassroots level has to be obtained, which is a time consuming process. Now, with the click of a browser, every information can be accessed anywhere in the country. “India is the only country where such a level and range of digitization is happening and the dividends of these far-reaching reforms will be available soon, she added.

In the discussion that followed the panelists explained how the artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, sensors etc. are going to script changes in the human behavior. At the same time, they have pointed out the need for strong regulatory framework to protect the data and adequate cyber security against hacking. As a natural corollary of the next level of digitization, panelists felt that healthcare and education needed more attention. Given the shortage of infrastructure to cater to these needs, digitization, automation and technologies like cloud computing, Internet of Things etc. can address the challenges.

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