India's prime minister Narendra Modi has announced the launch of 75 digital banking units (DBUs) in a move that he says will improve the banking experience for users and boost financial inclusion.
The step was signposted in the 2022-23 budget announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this year.
“In recent years, digital banking, digital payments and fintech innovations have grown at a rapid pace in the country," said the minister. "The government is continuously encouraging these sectors to ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner.
"Taking forward this agenda, and to mark 75 years of our independence, it is proposed to set up 75 DBUs in 75 districts of the country by Scheduled Commercial Banks”.
These digital banks will provide a number of services including current accounts, mobile and internet banking, debit and credit cards and digital kits for both merchants and customers.
Modi has been an active proponent of digital banking. In 2014 he introduced plans to replace phone banking with digital banking. He has also spoken about the potential of digital banking services to herald a "fintech revolution" in the country.
However, India and Modi have been less enthusiastic about cryptocurrencies. In July, the central bank announced its desire to ban cryptocurrencies. The call will be dependant on a Financial Stability Board report that is due to be published some time in October.