OREANDA-NEWS. HDFC Bank Ltd today launched its rural Financial Literacy Initiative in Sawantwadi in the Sindhudhurg district of Maharashtra, under the aegis of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This initiative complements HDFC Bank's efforts to support inclusive growth and take formal banking services to the remote corners of India.

The Financial Literacy programme in Sawantwadi is the first of a series of such camps that HDFC Bank plans to hold. The bank will roll out financial literacy camps in 4 branches in the Sindhudhurg district, reaching out to just over 85 villages in the region. The camps will enable both adults and school children to attain a conceptual understanding of financial products and services.

This initiative is in line with the RBI's circular which recommended that banks should scale up financial literacy efforts in rural areas through their branch networks. The programme was inaugurated by chief guest Mr. Ramaswamy, Regional Director, RBI, Maharashtra & Goa, in the presence of Mr. C. Patnaik, General Manager, RBI, Maharashtra, Mr Rajkamal Vardarajan, Head Key Accounts, HDFC Bank, Mr Rakesh Kumar Relan, Zonal Head, HDFC Bank and other senior officials from HDFC Bank.

HDFC Bank will use the Financial Literacy Guide, provided by the RBI as the standard curriculum while conducting these camps. This material is currently available in multiple languages, which will greatly increase the impact and efficacy of these camps as it will allow the participants to learn the material in the language they are most comfortable with.

The Financial Literacy Guide is a comprehensive document that contains a note for trainers, guidelines for banks on how to conduct the camps, and financial literacy material. It also contains as well as a Financial Diary to track expenditure and a set of 16 posters. The purpose of this guide is to create financial awareness and educate the common man on a number of topics such as management of money, importance of savings, advantages of saving with banks, other facilities provided by banks and benefits of borrowing from banks.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Rajkamal Vardarajan, Head Key Accounts, HDFC Bank, said, "We are honoured to reach out to the people of Sawantwadi under the guidance of the RBI. Through this financial literacy initiative we are helping people in rural areas to make informed and effective decisions regarding the use and management of their money."

Speaking about the programme, Mr Rakesh Kumar Relan, Zonal Head, HDFC Bank said, "In addition to bringing more people into the banking fold by going deeper into rural geographies and extending our reach in the hinterland in order to support inclusive growth, we want to make a difference in the lives and overall well-being of the local populace though this initiative.".

HDFC Bank now has 56% of all branches in its network located in semi-urban and rural areas. As of September 30, 2014, the Bank had a distribution network with 3,600 branches and 11,515 ATMs in 2,022 cities/towns.