On January 5, 2015, the ICICI Group completed 60 years since its establishment in 1955. In keeping with our role in nation-building, we celebrated this milestone with the launch of our ‘Digital Village’ initiative. We have undertaken this project in the village of Akodara in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district. This initiative is centred around 3Cs – a Cashless payment ecosystem; a Comprehensive approach spanning education, healthcare & skill development; and making the village Connected, with a wi-fi tower and internet & social media presence. It is a matter of great pride for us that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi dedicated the ICICI Digital Village to the nation and graced the function to celebrate 60 years of the ICICI Group held at ICICI Bank Towers, Mumbai on January 2, 2015. The Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley; the Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao; and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis also graced the occasion.
Over these 60 years, we have not only partnered in the nation’s progress but we have also sought to catalyse growth and bring about positive change in the country. We have financed projects in core industrial sectors, manufacturing sectors and infrastructure sectors. As India changed and the needs of the Indian people evolved, ICICI stepped in to meet the aspirations of India’s growing middle class by rapidly expanding, and in fact creating the retail loan market. Over the last 15 years, we have enabled millions of customers to buy their own homes and vehicles. Through our global presence, we are facilitating trade and investment flows to and from India, and serving the vast non-resident Indian community. We have gone beyond banking to become a leader in a whole range of financial services, including insurance and mutual funds.
Even as we have expanded and diversified, we have remained focussed on accelerating development in our country through our social initiatives. In 2008, we established the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth. Our focus has been specifically on four areas: education, healthcare, skill development and financial inclusion. In 2013, we set up the ICICI Academy for Skills to provide vocational training free-of-cost to under-privileged youth. The Academy now has nine centres across the country. We have so far trained over 6,600 youth from more than 350 villages with about 28% of these being girls. Under our financial inclusion initiative, since 2010, we have opened 19 million accounts and have reached out to over 15,000 villages. Our microfinance initiatives have benefitted nearly 1.2 million women.
To each one of you, our valued customers, I would like to say that we are delighted to have been a part of your journey, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. We will continue to strive to bring new products, new services and greater ease & convenience to you. As India moves ahead on the path of development and progress, the ICICI Group will continue to be a partner in this journey.