“ISMW Trains the First Ever Batch of BC/BF Trainers in the Country”
Government of India has undertaken a major initiative, which aims at financial inclusion by extending the reach of the banking and other financial services to the last mile customer in the un-served areas. As per the announcement made in the Budget 2010-11, the Government initiated the process of extending banking services through new ultra small branches (USBs) of banks and business correspondents (BCs) in the habitations with population of 2000 and more as per 2001 census. The BCs and the USBs opened in these regions would also provide services in the adjoining areas. The business correspondent model was developed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2006 to boost the government's financial inclusion program that aims to take banking services to the far-flung regions of the nation. Under the direction of finance ministry the banks are instructing their BCs who are armed with hand-held devices that work as mobile ATMS to carry out basic banking transactions with customers of all banks, in the assigned geographical region.
As a part of the process to build the cadre of BCs, in Gujarat, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Gujarat Regional office, State-level Master Trainers has identified Indian School of Microfinance for Women (ISMW) as state level training agency and ISMW team was trained by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF), Mumbai. These State-level trainers would further train district-level trainers, who will eventually train the BCs.
Thus ISMW has been identified by NABARD, Gujarat Regional office as the capacity building organisation for conducting the Training of Trainers (ToT) on Business Correspondent/Business Facilitator for the district level trainers. The objective of the ToT is to develop understanding about various aspects of financial inclusion, functions and role of BC model and build skills to become an effective trainer. These district level trainers would further train the BCs functioning in the far-flung regions across the state.
The first Training of Trainers (ToT) on Business Correspondents was organized by NABARD, Gujarat Regional Office, Ahmedabad and conducted by ISMW – State Level Trainers from 14th – 18th May 2012 at National Institute of Cooperative Management (NICM). There were 33 participants in the programme who were ex-bank officials selected by the NABARD to act as district level trainers to further train the BCs appointed by banks to provide banking services at the doorstep of customers in remote areas. This is the first batch in the country trained under this initiative towards attaining sustainable financial inclusion
Shri H.R. Dave, Chief General Manger – NABARD, Gujarat Regional office in his presidential address emphasized on the need to ensure that financial services reach to the last mile clients, the challenge is that the concept of Financial Inclusion should be firmly grounded over a period of time and develop a common understanding and wavelength amongst the banks, business correspondents and clients. Ms Veena Padia , CEO ,ISMW , in her welcome address mentioned about the evolution of banking for the poor and vulnerable.
The five day training comprised of topics which included concepts of Financial Inclusion, Business Correspondent/ Business Facilitator Model, Financial Literacy/Education, Banking – introduction and operational aspects, role of information technology etc. Field visit was organised for demonstration of various technical devices such as POS device and kiosk set-up in USBs and panel discussion with senior bank official were also included in the design of the programme.