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25 | Creating viable

25 | Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network Chart 6: Banking coverage to unbanked villages Source: Indian Rural Banking Sector: Big Challenges and the Road Ahead (Speech delivered by Dr Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director, RBI, at MITE Mangalore on May 04, 2013 NOTE: Other modes include ATMs, mobile vans, etc. There has also been an increase in the uptake of ICT-based banking through BCs. However, the RBI maintains that the number of ICT based BC transactions is still low as compared to the increase in the number of banking outlets. Chart 7: Increasing use of ICT-based accounts and transactions through BCs Source: RBI Annual Report, 2011-12 NOTE: These numbers pertain to Scheduled Commercial Banks only; excludes Regional Rural Banks The BC model is further expected to get a thrust with the Government of India’s plan to roll-out Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), through UIDAI Aadhaar or otherwise, across the nation by end of 2013 40 . The task force on Aadhaar-enabled unified payment infrastructure has recommended appointment of about a lakh BCs to ensure seamless and transparent delivery of social sector schemes in about 600,000 villages 41 . While the BC model has helped increase banking penetration in rural areas and is recognized as an integral tool to achieve financial inclusion, it faces some challenges in terms of connectivity 42 . NOFN could play a significant role in removing this challenge. The RBI has further cited viability issues as a challenge in the BC model 43 . This requires developing sustainable models that are attractive for all the stakeholders. 40 Handbook on Direct Benefit Transfer, Planning Commission 41 Finance Ministry, Report of the Task Force on an Aadhaar-Enabled Unified Payment Infrastructure, February 2013 42 Indian Rural Banking Sector: Big Challenges and the Road Ahead (Speech delivered by Dr Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director, RBI, at MITE Mangalore on May 04, 2013 43 Bank of India – Priority Sector Credit & Rural Development Department, Financial Inclusion, Accessed on 20 May 2013

Creating viable business models for inclusive growth through the National Optical Fiber Network | 26 Model 1: Banks tie up with ICT-enabled Post Offices This model harnesses the strong presence of Post Offices in rural India to drive ICT-enabled financial inclusion. As of December 2012, the 169 banks in India – including 82 regional rural banks 44 – had a branch network of 100,277, of which only about 37 percent were in rural areas 45 . In contrast, India Post has 154,822 post offices, of which 139,086 (or ~90 percent) are in the rural areas. 46 Using this significant coverage to offer banking services could boost the Government’s financial inclusion initiatives. Similar models have been implemented internationally (Refer Case study 4) and could be explored in India, given that certain prerequisites to the model, such as banking license for India Post and connectivity at post offices, are already under consideration. In this model, bank appointed Banking Agents (BAs) in the villages access the nearby post offices (as against bank branches) to carry out cash transactions (e.g., deposit the money collected from account holders). The post office would, in turn, carry out settlement with banks (for which they would require a banking license). Proposition: Leveraging Post Office infrastructure to offer banking services in rural areas Figure 7: Bank-led business model using the Post Office network Source: KPMG analysis 44 RBI, Current Statistics – Money and Banking, December 2012 45 Department of Financial Services – Ministry of Finance, Financial Inclusion, Accessed on 20 May 2013 46 India Post, Annual report, 2012-13

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