a quick and dirty story on jan dhan yojana. The aggregate numbers are designed to impress — 6.99 crore accounts have already been opened since PM Narendra Modi launched Jan Dhan Yojana on Independence Day, according to pmjdy.gov.in, a government website. But several concerns lie hidden beneath those numbers.
i reported for this story on the first day of jan dhan yojana. while the media exults over its success in opening over a crore accounts on day one, cracks in the model are already visible. cynical tokenism, all this.
from the et special issue on modi sarkar completing 100 resplendent days in power, this story on financial inclusion… Every two years, India’s financial inclusion drive reformats itself into a brand new, entirely unrecognisable avatar. Till about three years ago, it starred banks, the Reserve Bank of India and banking correspondent companies. Then came DBTs […]
The finance ministry has decided to limit Aadhaar’s role in its welfare scheme payments and, instead, use ATM-enabled RuPay cards for last-mile authentication to withdraw money. While it will continue to use Aadhaar for opening accounts and to eliminate ghosts and duplicates from beneficiary rolls, the ministry has decided to give RuPay ATM cards with […]
The new financial inclusion push, Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is widely expected to unveil on August 15 does not quite have the central bank on its side. Top government sources told ET that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was in disagreement with three critical elements of the drive. it opposed […]
…While researching this story, ET reviewed two drafts produced by the Department of Financial Services – one in June, and the second in July. The draft dated 8 July, 2014, says: “This account would be linked with the Aadhaar number of the account holder and would become the single point for receipt of Direct Benefit […]
There is enough evidence to suggest that the crucial July 1 meeting between Nilekani, the prime minister and the FM, brought forth a volte face in the government stand on UIDAI. Only two days before this, on July 3, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Telecom, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Planning Minister Rao […]
early in april, the rbi surprised most financial sector watchers by granting a banking license to bandhan, a microlender with most of its operations in eastern india. in a story out today, my colleague atmadip and i take a closer look at this decision. and say that this is a high stakes experiment — for […]
out today, this story by my colleague yogima seth and me on a surprise decision by the upa to pause its DBT programme for LPG. The government’s decision to put the Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer (DBT) for cooking gas on hold could be a blow to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), set up […]
in october 2012, i had travelled to a tehsil in rajasthan called dudu where the congress formally announced that direct benefit transfers would be its magic bullet for the coming elections — in the state and nationally. well, i just reported for a story by my colleague akshay deshmane on the role of DBT in […]
Last week, when the Nachiket Mor committee released its report on financial inclusion, it created a flutter. It was ambitious. In a country which is still struggling to provide banking facilities to most of its poorer citizens, the committee set aggressive targets. By January 1, 2016, it said, every Indian over 18 should have a […]
Over the years, the ‘Society’ bank has come to occupy a specific niche in Mardi, a village of about 7,000 people near Sholapur, Maharashtra. Its loans are smaller than those given by the Bank of Baroda branch in the village. But it is faster at lending to small farmers. Says Rashid Gulab Sheikh, a farmer […]
Imagine a database that contains the following data about your family. Household level information like address, caste, asset ownership, the kind of house you live in, when you came to the city/village where you now stay, ration card number, etc. And individual level information about including names, ages, educational background, occupation, incomes, bank accounts, existing […]
The government’s plan to make the Aadhaar number the centrepiece of the cash-transfer system is now facing opposition from a new quarter: banks. Several banks, led by State Bank of India, have expressed reservation against jettisoning their current systems in favour of the platform created by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues […]
The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) could recommend that the Reserve Bank of India should grant limited purpose bank licences to telecom firms and other industries in order to promote financial inclusion. A working group led by Morgan Stanley India chairman PJ Nayak, tasked by the Commission to propose changes to the country’s payment […]
D-day is 18 days away. On January 1, the Congress-led UPA government will start migrating the delivery of welfare services to a new architecture: straight into an individual’s bank account, verified by a unique identification (UID) number called Aadhaar. It’s a soft launch. The first of the three stages will unravel in 43 districts where […]
since may this year, i have been tracking a plan from the department of financial services to split india into 20 clusters, and to appoint a common banking correspondent company for all public sector banks operating in each cluster. it is a textbook case of policy adventurism. the department, a part of the finance ministry, […]
today’s et carries this small piece on cash transfers. the significant dataset here is a list of the 51 districts where cash transfers will be rolled out first. take a look?
for a while now, i have been reporting on the never-ending happiness that is the finance ministry’s “one cluster, one BC” model — essentially, to split india into 20 clusters and then to have one common banking correspondent company for all public sector banks operating in each cluster. this company would then be the only […]
close to four months after the finance ministry decided to split the country into 20 clusters and to appoint a common banking correspondent for all public sector banks in each cluster, how are things coming along? the latest update, here.
after a brief hiatus, the reverse auctions to choose common banking correspondents (see innumerable posts below) have resumed. the latest update.
A newly-formed association of banking correspondent (BC) companies has criticised the finance ministry’s ongoing plan to split India into 20 clusters, and to appoint a common BC company for all public sector banks operating in each cluster. In a white paper released on Thursday night, the Business Correspondent Network Managers (BCNM) Forum, a grouping of […]
for some time now, ET has been reporting on a worrying move by the philosopher kings in the department of financial services (the offshoot of the finance ministry tasked with managing the banking sector) to overhaul the banking correspondent (BC) model. well, the auctions to appoint common BCs for all public sector banks in a […]
words fail me. it is now, sigh, 0.11%. that is what a bangalore-based company called strategic outsourcing services has bid to clinch a tender to become the common banking correspondent for all public sector banks in orissa.
the latest update on the finance ministry’s one cluster, one banking correspondent model: FINO has become the BC for chhattisgarh.
about a month ago, i wrote about a controversial plan by the finance ministry to split the country into 20 clusters, and to appoint a common banking correspondent company for all public sector banks in each. to understand the attendant implications, please click here. yesterday, the second tender in this series was awarded. it went […]
In the beginning, only the National Population Register – and, a little later, Nandan Nilekani’s Unique Identification Authority of India – were supposed to capture and store biometrics. However, over the past few months, India has come to a point where myriad central ministeries, state departments and others are camping in the country’s villages and […]
it is official. the bidding process to find a common banking correspondent company for all of maharashtra is over. vakrangee has won with a bid so low banking correspondent companies can scarcely believe it. see this, this and this for context. now to see how well this new approach works.
i wrote out another small update for the et website today on how the finance ministry plan to choose one common BC for all public sector banks in maharashtra is coming along.
out today, a small online followup to a story i filed last week — about the finance ministry deciding that India should be split into 20 clusters, and that all public sector banks in each cluster should appoint a common BC for servicing their rural/poor customers.
Today’s Economic Times carries this story about an unexpectedly large change that is sweeping across the Bank-BC model. The Department of Financial Services, the part of the Finance Ministry which looks after the banking sector, has decided to split the country into 20 clusters and get all public sector banks in that region to work […]
Anyone watching the telecast of the 2012-13 budget would have concluded that the Finance Ministry was solidly backing Nandan Nilekani’s Unique Identification Authority of India. The budget speech mentioned Nilekani by name. It mentioned the UID programme ten-odd times. And spoke about how Aadhaar would be used to overhaul existing subsidy regimes in India — […]
while i was out bobbing in the bottle green waters of lakshadweep’s lagoons — see previous post — this story on the uidai came out. Barely six months ago, UIDAI was under siege-not just from civil society activists, but also from other parts of the government. The home ministry, one of whose arms was undertaking […]
Haryana is one of the first states in India to move towards e-payments of welfare programmes. Early last year, it began stopped disbursing its social sector pensions through sarpanches, and began using banks and banking correspondents instead. However, after six or so months, the state government called off the project and went back to the […]
These are the heydays for the banking-correspondent (BC) model. Banks want to use them to extend banking into villages. The government wants to use them to deliver welfare payments. In this followup to the financial inclusion story late last month, i argue that this confidence being reposed in the BC model is a tad premature.
First, the good news. Over the past few years, India has been moving rather aggressively towards bringing all Indians under the banking fold. Back of the envelope calculations suggest that 480 million Indians, about 96 million households, did not have access to banking as recently as 4/5 years ago. Well, since then, after some pushing […]
Today’s ET carries this story about the ongoing tussle between the UIDAI, the body tasked with developing the architecture for delivering cash transfers, and the banking correspondent companies, which will have to do a part of the actual delivery. Broadly, the UIDAI thinks villagers should be able to access their bank account through any BC […]
and, at long last, a good combative story. A World Bank study released earlier this year enumerated the rot in Indian welfare programmes. About 91% of subsidised grain meant for the poor in Bihar never reached them. Only 32-51 % of the pensions for the elderly, destitute, widows and the disabled reached them. These are holes […]
It’s a polarised debate. Always has been. Those who make a living expanding the possibilities of technology feel it can solve many economic ills, even those of the India that lives on 20 a day under the trembling glow of a lantern. And those who engage with that very India say technology solutions are fine, […]
for two years now, a quiet experiment on how to deliver financial services to india’s rural masses has been underway in and around the ancient temple town of thanjavur, tamil nadu. travel through the villages of pattukottai, thanjavur and kumbakonam and you will see branches — 57 of them — of a local “bank” called […]
Three decades after Independence, most poor Indians still lack institutionalised access to insurance, savings, remittances and loans. The outcomes are predictable. Migrant labour, carrying hard cash when they head back home, run the risk of being robbed. The poor rely excessively on loans to cope with a crisis — accidents, unpredictable weather, sick cattle — […]