In Chhattisgarh's Maoist-hit Dantewada, bank services at tribals' doorstep

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Home / India News / In Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Dantewada, bank services at tribals’ doorstep

To help the tribals and elderly people living in the Maoist-affected Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, a host of bank services will now be provided at their doorstep amid a raging coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme ‘‘Bank Sangwari Tumcho Dwaar’ was launched by the Dantewada district, which falls under the Bastar parliamentary constituency, last week.

Till now, 2541 pensioners out of 18,900, which include widows and elderly people of about 22 villages, have received money at their doorstep under various schemes of Chhattisgarh’s Social Welfare Department.

Presently, the program covers six schemes and the administration plans to extend the services to MGNREGA employment payments.

Tribal dominated Dantewada is one among the seven districts of the Bastar region.

“We have found that tribals, widows and elderly people are travelling through difficult terrains to reach local banks during this pandemic. Some people were walking more than 10 km, hence we decided to launch a program to provide financial services. We also want elderly population to remain indoors during this pandemic,” said Deepak Soni, District Collector, Dantewada.

Soni said that due to technological advancements, it is possible to bring all banking facilities at the people’s doorstep.

A team of volunteers, “The ‘Danteshwari Mitan’, is helping the people of the district to provide them pension and other banking benefits,” Soni added.

The Collector said 70 such teams of volunteers have been formed, drawing people from community service centres (CSC) and village level entrepreneurs (VLE), who then reach out to the Maoist-hit villages of the district.

Most part of Dantewada has no internet connection and hence manual payment has also been made for helping tribals.

“Digital payment techniques are used where there is internet while manual payments are made in the forest villages where there is no internet connectivity,” said the Collector.

Lauding the initiative, Aayati Nag, 65, said earlier she had to travel five-six km to the nearest bank in Kuakonda from her village in Maharapara for her old-age pension, but things have changed now.

“Due to the lockdown it was very difficult to reach the bank but a few days ago some district official came and handed over my pension money at my home,” said Nag.

A senior official of the district said since Danteswahri Mitans are locals, they are not obstructed by Maoists and they know the terrain also.

Similarly, Mora Devi of Chitalanka village said that due to the lockdown there were long queues in banks and hence it was very difficult. “I had to walk about 4 km and then stand in the queue,” she said.

“No one could have imagined banking would be so easy and I am happy to be a part of this service, that is bringing smiles to people,” said Prembati, a Dantewada Mitan.

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