Economy

Benefits of economic reforms are reaching villages: Jaitley

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 02, 2017

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MD and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar dedicating the 100 ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ to the nation on Tuesday   -  Ramesh Sharma

Finance Minister Arun Jitley addressing after dedicating 100 'ICICI Digital Villages' to the nation in New Delhi. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Finance Minister Arun Jitley addressing after dedicating 100 'ICICI Digital Villages' to the nation in New Delhi. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  BusinessLine

Finance Minister asks other banks to emulate ICICI Group’s Digital Village initiative

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that advantages of economic reforms had started reaching villages and the debate on whether these reforms had a political cost had disappeared from the Indian scene.

“One of the learnings we have experienced is that the advantages of economic reforms will reach the villages,” Jaitley said at an ICICI Rural Summit ‘Sashakt Gaon, Samriddh Bharat’ in the Capital. The event marked the ICICI Group dedicating 100 ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ to the nation.

The inauguration of the digital villages follows ICICI Bank’s commitment in November 2016 to transform 100 villages into ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ in as many days.

The programmes involves end-to-end digitisation of transactions and other commercial activities, providing vocational training to villagers, extending credit facility and helping villagers access markets and earn a sustainable livelihood.

In his address, Jaitley noted that the issue of whether economic reforms had a political cost or not had been a point of debate in India for the past 26 years — since the launch of economic reforms in 1991. It was this debate that was holding back successive governments every one or two years from undertaking new economic reforms, he added.

Now, a fundamental change has taken place and that debate has disappeared with that segment of society (villagers) feeling that they have been included in the whole economic reforms process, he said.

The Finance Minister also expressed hope that other banks would emulate ICICI Group’s rural initiatives, such as ‘Digital Villages’.

On the occasion, Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank, announced that 500 more villages would be transformed into digital villages by December 2017. “In the process, we will train an additional 50,000 individuals and impact 12.5 lakh lives,” she added.

The 100 ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ are located across 17 States. These include 16 villages in Gujarat, 14 each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, 12 each in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and 11 in Rajasthan, among others.

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Published on May 02, 2017
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