FM Nirmala Sitharaman bats for financial inclusion with wider bank coverage

75 digital banking units to come up in as many districts
Last Updated 01 February 2022, 22:20 IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s fourth budget aims to boost the reach of India’s banking sector by setting up 75 digital banking units in as many districts and bringing the country’s post offices under the fold of core banking solutions.

The move will help in boosting financial inclusion and banking services in India’s villages, according to industry watchers.

Sanjay Doshi, Partner and Head, Financial Services Advisory, KPMG, called the move to connect 1.5 lakh post offices to the core banking system a “master stroke”, highlighting how post office deposits limited transfer of funds within the post office ecosystem at present as it was not connected to the banking ecosystem.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman bats for financial inclusion with wider bank coverage

Doshi estimated that more than 35 crore post office deposit accounts with deposit aggregating to more than 10 lakh crores are waiting to be connected to the core banking system.

“Interoperability will provide banking infrastructure access (for e.g. Bank ATMs) to Post office customers,” he added.

Others agreed.

“This move will help in pushing the growth eventually from digital payments and savings products to loan and investment products and cause a generational shift in the way financial services are distributed,” said Monish Shah, Partner at Deloitte India.

The move is targeted at farmers and senior citizens in rural areas, enabling interoperability and financial inclusion.

“Digital-led initiatives such as bringing all post offices onto the core banking system, and the proposal to set up digital banking units by scheduled commercial banks will boost inclusive development and financial inclusion,” said Sonali Kulkarni, Lead – Financial Services, Accenture India.


On the corporate dispute resolution front, the government revealed plans to amend the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC) in order to cut the voluntary liquidation time for companies to six months from the current two years duration. This has changed from time to time.

However, a look at the numbers show that these timelines have not really been achieved so far. According to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI’s) July-September 2021 newsletter, 32% of the ongoing voluntary liquidation cases went on for more than two years.

Insolvency professional Nilesh Sharma said the ideal timeline for voluntary liquidation was six months to a year but added that it was sometimes a tough target to achieve.

“If you look at the processes, it takes a month to call for claims, then one month to verify those claims and then the process of auction and liquidation begins. So ideally, it should be about one year,” said Sharma.

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(Published 01 February 2022, 21:16 IST)

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