As part of its initiative to improve banking services in rural areas, public sector Union Bank of India will introduce biometric smart cards, similar to kisan cards, for the benefit of farmers.
Biometric cards have the ability to recognize users on the basis of one or more intrinsic physical or behavioural traits, such as fingerprints, the retina and iris of the eye, facial patterns and hand measurements.
The Union Bank card, which would recognize users through their fingerprints, is in experimental stage.
A trial run would be conducted in a village in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the bank’s chairman and managing director M.V. Nair said here on Wednesday.
The central server would provide card-holders connectivity with other outlets, such as grocery stores, where the farmers have dealings.
The aim of the biometric card is to encourage cashless transactions and take new technology to the remotest villages, Nair said.
Depending on the success of the trial run, the facility would be extended to other villages across India, he said.
Nair said the cost of each card—Rs100—and that of each transaction—Rs15—would come down as the number of users increased.
To empower the rural population, Union Bank has also started Village Knowledge Centres, where they would be taught better farm techniques, use of fertilizers and marketing. They would also be made aware of the latest price trends.
Union Bank, which opened its first biometric ATM (automated teller machine) at its Sivaganga branch, has plans to introduce them across the country, Nair said.