Joint Venture between Banks & Telecom crucial for financial inclusion

Microfinance Focus, Aug 10, 2010: The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in association with Itz Cash recently conducted the 3rd Financial Inclusion and Digital Payments Conference titled “Cash to Cashless Society” in Mumbai.

Identifying digital payments as the way forward to push economic growth, the conference provided a platform to discuss and deliberate the best plausible approach required to model a system to drive digital payments and financial inclusion.

Speaking at the event eminent Economist, Shri SS Tarapore cautioned that strong regulatory pressure to deliver on financial inclusion can end up in a number game and added that financial inclusion should be led by an understanding of the needs of the customers rather than achieving targets. Calling for a pragmatic way to achieve financial inclusion, Shri Tarapore said, “The ideal approach to delivery of financial services on mobile phones would be to create joint ventures between banks and telecom companies with limited banking licences.”

Elucidating the role of digital payments Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group mentioned that the cash circulation has gone up by 7% against the usual 2% as per a report released by the RBI. Mr Ranade also said that an astonishing 42% of rural India has savings in cash. “We have to realise that a system which is hand-in-hand with technological solutions is the need of the hour. We need to have insight into consumers to get an idea why majority hang to cash instead of going cashless.”

Speaking at the conference, KG Karmakar, Managing Director, NABARD, said security and right-sizing of technological issues concerning financial inclusions have to be handled with the same zeal. “A common, accessible and easy platform in rural areas has to be formulated to bring about financial inclusion. Digital payments are the best way available to us presently to do this, provided concerns like security are addressed.”

IAMAI is a not-for-profit industry body mandated to expand and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors. It is dedicated to presenting a unified voice of the businesses it represents to the government, investors, consumers and other stakeholders. The association addresses the issues, concerns and challenges of the Internet and Mobile economy and takes a leading role in its development.

© 2010, Microfinance News. All rights reserved. 2008-09

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