The ICICI Group on Tuesday said it has made 100 towns digitally-empowered in 2017 and arrangements to change 500 more by the year-end.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while inaugurating the 100 ICICI digital villages here said: “The ICICI initiative should be followed by other banks in rural areas.”

“Financial inclusion programme was the first major step undertaken by the government and now the country was moving towards a scenario where every household should have a bank account,” Jaitley said.

“People are extremely flexible in adapting to technology. The movement towards digitisation has created newer technologies,” the Finance Minister said.

ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said, “We have transformed 100 villages across the country in 100 days. We have created a less cash ecosystem in these villages. We intend to expand the number of such villages by another 500 by December 2017.”

The program envelops digitisation of exchanges and other business exercises, other than giving vocational training, credit facility and market linkage to help villagers win a practical occupation.

“I am confident that this project will significantly contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’…,” Kochhar said.

The 100 towns which have been changed into ‘ICICI Digital Villages’ are situated crosswise over 17 states in India. These incorporate 16 in Gujarat, 14 each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, 12 each in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and 11 in Rajasthan among others.

“The villagers here can use digital channels for banking and payments transactions. They can also open bank accounts using Aadhar-based e-KYC (electronic Know Your Customer), make cashless payments at retail stores using Point-of-Sale (POS) machines and use an SMS-based mobile solution,” she said.

“Villagers can deposit and withdraw cash at their doorstep. The digitisation at the village dairy cooperative units enables the societies to pay the members digitally and directly into their bank accounts,” she added.

While 11,300 villagers have been prepared in vocational courses in the 100 computerised towns, ICICI Group arrangements to prepare 50,000 more people in the staying 500 towns.

The orders incorporate complete agriculture, dairy and vermicomposting, agriculture hardware administration and repair, dress designing and sandstone cutting, cell phone repairing and electrical home apparatuses.

The bank is additionally stretching out credit offices to credit-commendable prepared villagers in an offered to lift independent work openings in the towns.