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
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 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://indicus.org/inclusion.php