December 2016

November has been a historic month for India – the withdrawal of high denomination currency notes (Prime Minister’s Office, November 8, 2016) has disrupted the cash-dependent economy. As the Reserve Bank of India and the banks grapple with the logistics of printing and distributing new currency notes, the government has turned to push digital payments through multiple channels - a panel of Chief Ministers has been constituted to expedite the progress on digital payments, the Niti Aayog made a presentation to 525 district collectors on ways to promote easy digital payments, issuance limits for Pre-Paid Payment Instruments have been increased, transaction charges on debit card payments have been waived by most banks till December 31st, railway ticket counters are being provided PoS terminals etc. Meanwhile use of wallets, net banking and debit card purchases increased significantly in November and many mandis moved transactions away from cash either electronically or through cheques.

Following the feedback received on its consultation paper on increasing usage of the USSD channel, on 22nd November, the TRAI lowered the ceiling tariff from Rs. 1.5 per session to Rs. 0.50 and increased the maximum number of stages in a session from five to eight. The USSD channel can be an effective enabler of financial inclusion by facilitating digital transactions through feature phones, however it remains to be seen how the banks and the TSPs will work to popularise the channel amongst low income customers.

Last month also saw the roll out of India’s first payments bank – in the first phase, Airtel Payments Bank started operations in Rajasthan through 10,000 access points, offering an attractive 7.25% on deposit accounts, and many other features for easy onboarding and seamless transactions. In other news, Jio Payments Bank, a joint venture of Reliance Industries Ltd and State Bank of India, was incorporated on November 10 marking one more step towards new banking for financial inclusion in India.

Section I: Policy – the latest from India’s policymakers

Pioneering Best Practices in Banking: India’s Record:
Shri R. Gandhi, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, November 24, 2016

Video Conferencing with Banks for major push to cash less transactions:
: Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, November 23, 2016

Promotion of digital payments and measures for farmers:
Ministry of Finance, November 23, 2016


Pradhan Mantri Jan - Dhan Yojana  
Trend of Zero Balance Accounts under PMJDY
Position of Overdraft
Position of Bank Mitra Infrastructure
Monthly Report sent to PMO for the month of October, 2016 on DBT
December 2, 2016, Electronic Payments Systems data would be released on a daily basis till December 31, 2016 with a lag of one day

Section II: News and Views Digest – the latest from India and abroad


Airtel Payments Bank opens 10000 plus savings accounts in two days
RIL-SBI joint venture: Jio Payments Bank incorporated
Payments banks: How to make the most of them
More UPI-enabled apps hit the market
Lower ceiling tariff for USSD to increase transactions by 10 times: Trai's Sharma
India is far away from being a cashless economy. Here's why
Making India a cashless economy
India scores high in financial inclusion: report
User-centred financial inclusion
Don't waste the crisis; leverage Aadhaar for cashless inclusion
More financial inclusion means more empowerment for women
India's Demonetization: Time for a Digital Economy
Poor banking network leaves rural areas reeling
How the government can help ease the cash crunch - Probir Roy
Are we ready for a world without OTP?
How can India go cashless if online payments aren't seamless?


Working Together to Fight DFS Fraud
Building a Business Case for Women Agents
Liberian Teacher ePayments: Stepping Stones to Inclusion
How a Retail Chain Became Mexico’s No. 1 Bank Account Supplier
Swiping Right: Prototypes Mobile Money on Smartphones
Ending Extreme Poverty: New Evidence on the Graduation Approach
Digital Financial Inclusion Supervision: Tanzania Pilot Program
Six Tips for Policy on Disruptive Digital Financial Inclusion
Making the Case for Privacy for the Poor
503.2 Million Reasons to Tackle Data Protection Now
Future of Mobile Money for Cocoa Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana

Section III: Research – surveys and studies on expanding access to financial services

Section IV: The latest from Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion

Making Financial Inclusion Work for The Poor - Policy Brief October,2016

Payments banks in uncharted territory - Mint, 29 November 2016

Better regulation for a less-cash economy - Mint, 15 November 2016

The monthly newsletter from the Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion documents the latest news and views in the financial inclusion space. Editor: Sumita Kale can be contacted at 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.

©Indicus Centre for Financial Inclusion. All rights reserved. 5th December 2016

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