Mumbai: The number of no-frills or zero- balance account holders more than doubled to 103.21 million in the year to March 31, 2012 from 49.33 million in March 2010, RBI has said in its financial inclusion update.

During March 2010-March 2012, total number of banking outlets grew to 1,47,534, from 54,258 outlets, the Reserve Bank said in the update on financial inclusion.

The Reserve Bank (RBI) has launched the financial inclusion programme to provide financial services to people in unbanked areas.

RBI's approach to financial inclusion is aimed at connecting people with the mainstream financial institutions like banks, the apex bank said.

"Goal of financial inclusion is better served through mainstream banking institutions as only they have the ability to offer the suite of products required to bring in effective or meaningful financial inclusion," RBI said.

The number of business correspondents (BCs), who carry out banking operations on behalf of banks, increased to 96,828 from 33,042, it said.

The number of bank branches opened through banking outlets rose to 24,701 in FY12 from 21,475 while number of banking outlets opened through BCs rose significantly to 1,20,355 in FY12, from 32,684 in FY10.

Meanwhile, as many as 2,478 banking outlets were opened through other modes from just 99 outlets two years ago.

During the period, total of 3,171 rural branches were opened, RBI data said.

For effective dissemination of financial services, RBI has allowed technology partners such as mobile companies to partner with banks in offering the services collaboratively.

Also, it has permitted banks to freely open branches in tier 2 to tier 6 centres, have mandated banks to open 25 per cent of all new branches in unbaked rural centres and has relaxed know your customer (KYC) norms for opening small bank accounts.


Latest News from Business News desk