Nirmala Sitharaman launches EASE 4.0, talks about fintech, credit demand, check top highlights from FM’s presser

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday (August 25) launched the EASE 4.0 programme, which is aimed at institutionalising India’s banking sector in a cleaner and smarter way. 

EASE 4.0, which stands for Enhanced Access and Service Excellence, is the next leg of the EASE 3.0 that was launched last year in February. The aim of EASE 3.0 was to improve the banking customers by deploying technology and harvesting data. The first edition of the EASE was launched way back in January 2018. Since then, the government has been launching a new phase of the programme every year. 

Sitharaman is currently on a two day Mumbai visit where she is meeting with the top bankers of the country. During her press conference, she urged industry stakeholders to come forward to digitise Indian banking. 

Here are the top highlights from Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference  

  • Sitharaman has requested public sector banks (PSBs) to interact with exporters’ bodies to understand their requirements. Banks have been requested to have interaction with export promotion agencies, chambers of commerce and industry to understand and address the requirement of exporters in a timely manner. 
  • She also asked banks to work with state governments to push the ‘one district one product’ agenda. The district-wise outreach will be undertaken by banks to help credit growth from October.
  • Sitharaman said there is a need to ramp up credit growth in the eastern pockets of the country in states like Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha, where the populations are displaying a higher propensity to deposit money in current and savings accounts. Banks have also been asked to create state-wise plans for northeastern states to help the logistics sector and exporters.
  • The FM noted that there are a lot of sunrise sectors that need funding to kick off their growth. She said that the funding needs to be facilitated by the banks. 
  • The Finance Ministry also urged banks to extend assistance to the fintech sector. In the past few years, India’s fintech startups have changed the landscape of the financial sector across the country, especially when it comes to lending department in particular. She said that banks have also been asked to look into the demands of the fintech sector.
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