At the outset, we would tike to give you the background for the occasion. We, at Reserve Bank of India, are celebrating our 75th year into existence. We have treated it as an occasion for introspection - an occasion to reflect on the mandate to the Reserve Bank, to look back on the road we traversed, and look ahead as to how each of us in the Reserve Bank family can make a positive difference to the life of every Indian, every day. It was therefore decided by our Hon’ble Governor that the Platinum Jubilee celebrations must launch a series of initiatives and activities that make the Reserve Bank a more responsive public policy institution.

2. Reserve Bank of India, Guwahati, under its Platinum Jubilee Celebration has inter-alia charted out a plan for holding Financial Outreach Village Camps in various parts of the North Eastern States, to bring awareness regarding banking facilities - an attempt at making available such facilities to every adult citizen in the target area and for bringing them under the fold of mainstream banking. It is very important for every adult citizen to have a bank account since a scheduled bank is not only a safe place to deposit his/her hard earned money, but also a channel which links the account holder with the payment and settlement platform enabling easy remittance and payments anywhere in India. Moreover, everyone can get loans from the banking system at reasonable rates of interest under various schemes for all the life cycle requirements such as income generation, birth, education, marriage, death, etc. Many of these schemes are primarily targeting BPL (below poverty line) families.

3. The Financial Outreach Programme for NER was launched with a Village Camp in Assam on August 6, 2009. This camp at Mizoram will be our seventh Village Camp and with a vast hinterland available in the area, we expect to cater to the needs of large number of villagers. Uptill now, we have had six village camps in the states of Assam (Kukurmara village), Tripura (Pitra village), Arunachal Pradesh (Borum village), Nagaland (Khonoma village), Meghalaya (Nongkhlaw village) and one for the Tea Gardens of Kaziranga. All these camps turned out to be highly successful with huge public turnout.

4. The present village outreach camp is scheduled to be held on February 20, 2010 in Seling village in Aizwal district of Mizoram. Dr. Subir Gokarn, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India will be the Chief Guest on the occasion. Seling village is about 45 Kms away from Aizwal (Mizoram State). The village comes under Thingsulthliah R.D. Block of Distt Aizawl. Thingsulthliah Block consists of 9 villages i.e. Thingsulthliah, Darlawng, Tlangnuam, Sesawng, CTI, Mualmam, Tuirial, Phulmavi and Seling. The village is located enroute to Aizawl - Lunglei Road after crossing river Tuirial. It has a common junction connecting 6 Districts of Mizoram like Aizawl-Champhai-Lunglei-Lawngtlai-Saiha. Thingsulthliah Block is inhabited by 39,923 persons out of whom 5965 live in Seling village. The village has a vast hinterland surrounding it and it would therefore, allow us to access sizeable population in the area. During the outreach programme, we interact with daily wage earners, small and marginal farmers, village women, students, self-help groups, senior citizens, housewives and similar such target groups to familiarise them with various banking facilities as also with the security features of currency notes. On the occasion, we also exchange their soiled and mutilated currency notes, exchange currency notes for coins besides looking into their complaints with regard to banking facilities. The camp will also have other participants such as Mizoram Rural Bank, State Bank of India, Mizoram Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd, NABARD, United Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank Ltd., Bank of Baroda and KVIB. All of these would be functioning through the mobile counters.

The banks would accept applications for No Frills Accounts, GCC, etc. State Bank of India would arrange to demonstrate and also open/enroll for smart card based no-frills accounts through ICT solutions. NABARD, through some select NGOs, would convey to the village people regarding their activities as also for formation of fresh SHGs. The Reserve Bank, through this experiment, would develop a workable module for a fully financially inclusive model village.