The government has entered into a deal with HDFC Bank, where 300,000 Common Service Centre operators in rural areas will help rural citizens with banking activities. Under the agreement, Village Level Entrepreneurs — which is the term the government uses for CSC operators — will work as banking correspondents for HDFC Bank. This will make banking services more accessible in rural areas, the government said.

What CSC operators will be doing

Banking correspondents are employed in places where bank branches don’t exist. They provide services like processing loan applications and disbursing Direct Benefit Transfer payouts. They also sell mutual fund/pension-related products and do a lot of the individual customer-facing work that a regular bank branch engages in, including cash withdrawals and deposits.

CSCs do things like provide internet access and sometimes act as Aadhaar registration centres. They also help citizens register complaints and grievances, and help access to government websites. There are around 290,000 CSCs in India.

In June, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that CSCs would be used for banking services, and this is the first concrete step towards that announcement. Prasad added that he wanted CSCs to provide other services like train bookings and WiFi hotspots.

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