Number of banking outlets in villages drops amid financial inclusion push

The Centre has been pushing for financial inclusion through its various schemes, but the numbers show a lot remains to be done. The total number of banking outlets in villages, including branches and business correspondents, fell over the previous year. 

These numbers echo what the industry says: Feasibility of operations in rural areas is low. This is because pricing models are not taking into account the higher costs and lower volumes involved in serving rural areas. 

This has resulted in higher concentration of banking correspondents in urban areas, which detracts from their mandate of financial inclusion. The same issue applies to the ATM sector, where total numbers of ATMs have dropped marginally over the previous year.