Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In a bid to provide doorstep banking services in rural areas, the Odisha Government had promised to provide mobile banking services across the State. However, the government has drastically failed to keep its promise as the service has long been disrupted. 

As per a case study, the mobile banking service of Cooperative Bank in Mayurbhanj district has been out of function and the buses meant for it have been gathering dust.  The ATMs inside the bus have also been lying defunct. 

As many as two mobile banking services of the bank were launched for Baripada and Karanjia branches in 2019. However, after providing service to the customers for a few months, the mobile buses and ATMs are currently non-functional and gathering dust. Similar is the case of mobile bank services across the state starting from Ganjam to Koraput districts. 

Though crores of rupees have been spent from the State exchequer to provide mobile banking services across the State, its poor implementation has triggered resentment among the people.

“The vehicles meant for providing mobile banking service to the people of the rural areas have been lying defunct on the bank premises for the last five years. People of the area are perplexed over the development,” said Satya Sobham Rath, a resident of Jagannath Prasad.

“It’s only a waste of money from the government exchequer. People in rural areas are not getting any benefit out of the initiative,” said Jagdish Padhy, a resident of Jeypore.

Meanwhile, in response to the situation, General Manager of Mayurbhanj Cooperative Bank Mahendranath Samal said that the ATM of the mobile banking vehicle is often malfunctioning and as a result, the service is getting disrupted.

“As the service covers remote areas, the censor of the ATM is not working properly and it often malfunctions.  Funds are needed for the repair work of the machine. When the higher authorities will provide a fund for the repair work, the service will be resumed,” said Samal.

Meanwhile, as per banking experts, if the service has been disrupted owing to repairing work then it is quite unfortunate.

“Mobile banking service was launched to provide banking services to the people in the remote areas of the State at their doorsteps. However, the bank authorities can only tell the reason behind the closure of the service. If the service has been disrupted due to repairing work then it is quite unfortunate,” said banking expert Damodara Nanda.

“If the ATMs are not working in the vehicles meant for providing mobile banking service in rural areas, those machines should be set up in some other branches of the banks,” he added.

Now it remains to be seen whether the mobile banking service which was launched with crores of rupees will meet its end or get a new lease of life.