The Sikkim State Co-operative Bank Ltd. is working on various schemes and plans in order to attain the aspiration of financial inclusion in the State of Sikkim effectively.
Here are some of the schemes introduced by the Bank in order to achieve its goals:
- These are no-frill accounts where account holders do not have to maintain any minimum balance or minimum deposit. These account holders can withdraw cash at any ATM or at the bank branch. They should also be given the opportunity to make use of electronic payment channels for receiving and transferring money to others.
- The banks have simple Know Your Client (KYC) regulations for the less fortunate people of the society. There are many people in rural areas that are unable to open bank accounts due to strict KYC norms. Hence, the RBI wants banks to have simplified KYC requirements particularly if a low-income individual is interested in opening a bank account with an amount not above Rs.50, 000. It also wants minimal KYC norms if the overall credit in the accounts does not go above Rs.1 lakh for 1 year. banks have also stating to accept Aadhaar Card as identity proof as well as address proof since most people belonging to low-income groups have made Aadhaar card in their names.
- Bank is deliberately working towards rural population as most of its branches are located in rural areas; they have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas with basic banking and financial services.
- Kissan Credit Cards (KCC): Bank has been provide Kissan Credit Cards exclusively to small farmers who earn very low incomes and have very limited funds due to which they cannot invest in proper farming tools, fertilizers, pesticides, crop seeds, etc. These Kissan Credit Cards are intended to help farmers make instant purchases whenever required. Many a time, farmers give up on purchasing things required for their occupation due to lack of funds. Sikkim State Co-operative Bank Ltd. has been among the highest number of KCC issuing Bank in the State for the successive years. Further bank has issued total of Rs: 2.57 crore KCC in the financial year 2019-20 to 564 beneficiaries.
- ATMs: In order to increase the availability of physical cash for the people, bank has also setup in-house ATMs in all its branches throughout the state.
- Financial literacy: Financial Literacy Camp plays a very essential role in the course of financial inclusion, need of financial literacy is even greater considering the low levels of literacy and the large section of the population, which still remains out of the formal financial set-up especially in the rural areas. Sikkim State Co-operative Bank Ltd. in collaboration with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) has set up two (2) Financial Literacy and Credit Counseling (FLCC) centers which perform the function of travelling to various gram panchayats, village’s, schools and PACS/MPCS to arrange the Financial and credit counseling camps , to be precise the bank has organized 120 + such camps in the financial year 2019-20.
- Cash Kendra: Primary Agriculture Credit Society (PACS) is being set up as Deposit Mobilization Agency (DMA) for the bank. As we are well aware that PACS is the basic unit and small co-operative credit institution which works on the grassroots. Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) occupy a predominant position in the co-operative credit structure and form its base. A PACS is organized at the grass roots level of a village or a group of small villages. As such, the health and strength of the co-operative credit movement depends crucially upon the health and strength of these societies. Taking in view the reach of PACS to the rural masses in our state bank has come up with a strategy of Cash Kendra to make them strong and well ascertain.
- Mobile ATM van or Cash on wheels: Bank with the assistance from NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) has launched two (2) mobile ATM vans in the year 2018 which is endlessly operating to fulfill the need of physical cash in the rural areas of the state,
Apart from helping to withdraw cash in a hassle-free manner, the mobile ATM van is also spreading awareness on a wide range of services being offered by the bank and financial literacy among rural masses.
Further mobile ATM service is becoming very useful means for fulfilling the necessity of physical cash to the far-flung location at the time of COVID-19 pandemic.