ICICI Bank today announced to adopt Akodara village of Sabarkantha district under its ‘Digital Village’ pilot project to boost Centre’s ‘Digital India’ drive. The announcement was made by ICICI Bank Chairman and Managing Director Chanda Kochhar during her courtesy meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel at Gandhinagar. Also Read - Reliance Jio Postpaid is free for two months with ICICI credit card; Here is how to get it
Kochhar briefed Patel about how the village will be covered through networking and Wi-Fi facility, stated an official press release of state government. During the meeting, Patel urged the ICICI Bank chief to contribute in building toilets in villages and help the government in its fight against malnutrition under corporate social responsibility (CSR). Kochhar also showed her eagerness to fulfil the social responsibilities. Also Read - Ola to start offering in-trip insurance cover to riders
Akodara village came into limelight when Narendra Modi started Gujarat’s first ever animal hostel in that village when he was the Chief Minister, it added. Joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India program, top lender ICICI Bank has launched its own ‘digital village’ project while adopting an entire village in Gujarat to provide services ranging from cashless banking to digitized school teaching. Also Read - Paytm, JioMoney, PhonePe and more: Here's a list of mobile wallets available in India
The project was announced today to coincide with the 60-year-celebration of the ICICI group’s existence since the erstwhile ICICI Ltd was set up in 1955. The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) was originally set up as an Indian financial institution at the initiative of the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry to provide project financing to Indian businesses. It later got merged with ICICI Bank, which was set up in 1994.
The new ‘digital village’ project was announced in Modi’s presence at a function held at the bank’s headquarters here. Speaking on the new initiative, ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said the bank’s activities in this digital village is not limited to providing cashless banking through digital platforms, but was focused on use of technology in all aspects of every resident there.
This village, named Akodara, in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat incidentally happens to be the same place where Modi started Gujarat’s first animal hostel in 2011 when he was the Chief Minister of the state. The animal hostel, a concept conceived by Modi was envisaged as a place where the cattle of the village are kept and maintained together and have all necessary infrastructure facilities to take care of them.
“Through this Digital Village initiative, we are trying to set an example on how technology can change the lives of people,” said Kochhar, who began her career with erstwhile ICICI Ltd in 1984 as a management trainee and has been instrumental in shaping the retail banking sector in India.
“One of the key points is providing cash-less banking services to every villager. But it is not only about making sure that the commercial life of a person goes ahead without cash, but we want to ensure that technology is there in every sphere of life.
“On banking we have digitized all our offerings — from opening an account to sale of goods to purchase of products including milk from the vendor or kirana stores. At the same time, we have digitized the school records, the Gujarat syllabus and even teaching methods and tools.
“This way, we are ensuring that the teaching can be much more effective and can be done without physical books or any other physical items in a school,” she said. Kochhar further said that ICICI is ensuring that all villagers have access to all the required data and information in a digital format.
“The villagers are very excited about the entire project and it is not only the residents of this particular village, but even those from adjoining areas are coming to us and sharing their excitement. The villagers are getting SMSs in Gujarati for their transactions and other digital services,” she added.