More than 19 crore bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) so far, with the share of zero balance accounts reducing to 34.31% by end-November. While the emphasis of financial inclusion in India has largely been on the banking and financial services footprint, the crucial role played by technology and telecom connectivity in providing low cost access to financial services is well recognised. Digital transactions are steadily gaining acceptance in India - RBI data shows that mobile banking transactions have crossed Rs. 300 billion in value in October. Moreover, users are not concentrated in India’s metros - 40-50% of mobile wallet transactions are from smaller towns, as noted in the latest data culled from Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights.
The role of telcos in fostering financial inclusion, however, is not reflected in the monitoring dashboards of the PMJDY Mission Directorate. The latest policy brief from the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion “Service Quality Standards in Telecom Connectivity for Financial Inclusion” focuses on the state of telecom infrastructure and service quality to enable transactions, transfers and withdrawals of funds, without which financial inclusion will be a non-starter in areas with low or nil connectivity. The five takeaways for the PMJDY Mission are as follows:
- Put in place a unified, harmonised database of the financial inclusion footprint, in terms of outlets, service points, devices, connectivity and agent networks, aggregated and monitored by a single source.
- Recognise that internet and broadband footprint and quality of service need to be monitored directly under the PMJDY. In consultation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and others, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) should notify the minimum telecom service requirements for devices for conducting mobile financial transactions.
- Include in its monitoring framework these relevant metrics: coverage maps showing the present status of internet/broadband penetration, quality of telecom coverage – represented by uptime, transaction times and transaction failure data, for each enlisted Sub Service Area (SSA). This will enable a conjoint mapping of device penetration across Bank Mitra (Business correspondents or BC) outlets and requisite telecom connectivity to enable successful financial transactions.
- Identify, along with TRAI, appropriate metrics for service quality appropriate for mobile financial transactions, like ‘transaction drops’ (equivalent to ‘call drops’ in voice telephony nomenclature). Data on service quality can be requisitioned under a financial inclusion section included in the quarterly review reports of telecom service penetration and quality.
- Ensure through TRAI a more granular reporting by service providers of telecom footprint and data service quality aligned to Sub Service Area (SSA) level, and regularly update the availability and level of telecom connectivity (2G, 3G) at a granular (sub-service area) level, ideally building a GIS heat map of telecom towers, data service quality profiles and transaction quality at the locations of ‘Bank Mitras’ (business correspondents or BC) across India.
Section I: Policy – the latest from India’s policymakers
Dr. Prannoy Roy in conversation with RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan and CEA Arvind Subramanian – November 05, 2015 - Unedited Transcript – NDTV
PMJDY Progress Report
Progress-Report of PMJDY-(Statewise)
Trend of Zero balance accounts under PMJDY
Position of Overdraft
Position of Bank Mitra Infrastructure
Regional Rural Banks - Priority Sector Lending – Targets and Classification
Internet Banking Facility for Customers of Cooperative Banks
Aadhaar Seeding and ABP - Strategy and Timelines
Section II: News and Views Digest – the latest from India and abroad
JAM+Digital India=Better financial inclusion for India’s marginalised
Govt eyes post offices, kiranas for pension plans
RBI ups RRBs' priority sector lending target
Government extends RuPay card insurance claim to 90 days
Cooperatives should play important role in financial inclusion
Expanding Jan Dhan Yojana through self-help groups
PM Modi's 5 mega plans: Long road ahead
Vodafone Pledges $2 Billion Investment Into Vital Market, India
India real trailblazer when it comes to financial inclusion: US
How digital revolution can push financial inclusion
Financial inclusion: Focus on Middle India
Why Women Self-Help Group Members Make for Good Bank Agents
Can a Good Customer Experience for the Poor Benefit Business?
How many more new banks will get RBI's nod?
How can MFIs leverage mobile financial services? The example of Tunisia
A2A interoperability: What is happening between banks and mobile money providers?
National infrastructure to support mobile money interoperability: Lessons from Mexico’s Inter-bank Payments System (SPEI)
The Road to Financial Inclusion: Solid Progress, Big Challenges
M-Pawa 1 Year on: Mobile Banking Perceptions, Use in Tanzania
Insights on Inactivity of Mobile Money Accounts in Côte d’Ivoire
The Five Most Dramatic Changes in 20 Years of Financial Inclusion
New case study explores the different stages of the mobile money regulation in Paraguay
GSMA’s Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers: Where are we today?
Cashless Nigeria: Facilitating the Transition to Digital Payments
Putting Mystery Shopping to the Test in the Philippines
Minimize Risk to Drive Smallholder Adoption of DFS
Small Business Finance and Financial Inclusion in Latin America
How Hard is it to use Mobile Money as a Rural Bangladeshi Woman?
Re-thinking MFI Operations using Mobile Technology
Embracing A Market-led Approach To Developing Product Concepts
Section III: Research – surveys and studies on expanding access to financial services
Small Finance Bank Licences: Not the End of the Road for Non-SFB MFIs
Akhilesh Singh, Lokesh Singh and Nikunj Gor, MicroSave, November 27, 2015
G2P Payments: Concerted Efforts Will be the Key
Lokesh Singh and Akshat Pathak, MicroSave, November 27, 2015
GPFI Report to the Leaders: G20 Summit, Antalya, 2015
GPFI, November 24, 2015
Inclusive Growth and Development: 2015 Antalya Development Roadmap
GPFI, November 19, 2015
Global Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion: The Evolving Landscape
GPFI, November 13, 2015
Designing Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Families
Max Mattern and Michael Tarazi, CGAP, November 10, 2015
The monthly newsletter from the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion documents the latest news and views in the financial inclusion space, to provide a knowledge base that will help build understanding around how to accelerate the poor’s access to high-quality financial services. Editor: Sumita Kale can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion was launched in 2011 to distil and disseminate information on accelerating the poor’s access to high-quality financial services. The Centre is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. http://www.indicus.net/icfi
© Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion. All rights reserved. 30th November 2015