ICICI has created the ‘ICICI Digital Village‘ at Akodara in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat to enable villagers to use technology in various aspects of life including banking, payments, education and healthcare among others.
Here, financial transactions are cashless, text books are paperless, children read books on LED monitors and Tabs, patients can avail the facility of telemedicine and wi-fi connectivity is available across the village.
The digital village initiative has three dimensions. The first dimension is to enhance access to banking and provide seamless banking services. For that the Bank is using tab banking to open savings bank account. The Bank will also provide technology-enabled banking services to the villagers and link their accounts to Aadhar to enable direct transfer of government benefits into savings accounts.It is also creating a cashless, digital payment ecosystem for the village for which it has created an end-to-end payment solution leveraging Rupay cards and SMS banking .The APMC mandi at Himmatnagar, the district headquarters, will be the first cashless mandi in Gujarat.
The second dimension of the initiative is to leverage technology in the social sectors for improvement in the lives of the villagers. The Bank is digitizing school attendance and school records and implementing a school management software in the village school. It is providing smart boards, integrating projector and computer at the school and the anganwadi, with audio-visual digital content for classes 1 to 10.It will provide digital access to telemedicine via mobile or video conference, giving villagers access to medical expertise. The Bank will also bring its skill development programme to the village through the ICICI Academy for Skills.
The third dimension of the strategy is to create enabling infrastructure to make technology available, and access and disseminate information. As part of this, high speed broadband connectivity throughout the village via wi-fi was ensured using a wi-fi tower.The Bank has negotiated special rates for Reuters Market Live (RML) subscription services which will provide advisory on farm activities, weather information and Agri-news to the farmers on their mobile through SMS. Farm advisory will help farmers to optimize the utilization of resources and maximize profitability. Access to commodity spot price will help the farmers to decide to sell or hold.Farmers have been provided access to the latest information on prices of agricultural commodities on NCDEX and a water treatment plant has been established in the village.
This ‘digital village’ was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function at the bank’s headquarters to mark 60-year celebrations of the group. ICICI’s chief Chanda Kochhar hopes this initiative motivates other entities to take up similar projects.