Central Government Plans to have Points of Service (POS) for DBT and Financial Inclusion


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

Taking corrective measures to give two of its ambitious schemes – direct benefit transfer and financial inclusion – an extra push, the Central government in January 2016 plans to have at least 20 lakh points of service (POS) across the country’s six lakh villages by roping in ration shops, gramin dak sevaks and common service centres. The government aims to do this by early next year.
The idea is to provide at least four to five options for POS machines for banking in every village by 2017 to supplement the reach of bank branches and banking correspondents. A POS can easily be used to withdraw and deposit funds and pay pensions, scholarships and cash transfers.
This is expected to help bring basic banking services at the doorstep and improve access to formal financial channels in most of the far flung and unbanked areas of the country, an issue which was being voiced as a key hurdle for implementing these schemes, the official explained. Till now, the government was depending on banking correspondents and local branches.
According to the plan being finalised, POS machines installed at fair price shops and common service centres of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, along with core banking services at post offices, will be used as a means to provide financial access. While all fair price shops (FPS) in the country will have POS by December 2016, core banking solutions in post offices will also allow gramin dak sevaks to be equipped with such machines. This will help improve cash transfers and financial inclusion efforts. The decision was taken after sub-service area mappings of households across the country to understand their access to formal banking channels.
Government officials pointed out that there are about 43,000 bank branches in the country and about 1.5 lakh banking correspondents. However, despite 20 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri jan Dhan Yojana, access to banking channels remains a challenge for many account holders as brick-and-mortar bank branches may be far off and not all banking correspondents are active. Official data indicate that as against 1,11,182 active bank mitras or banking correspondents in the country, a total of 1,26,774 are required. Further, 785 sub-service areas in rural sectors were also uncovered due to lack of banking correspondents and bank branches.

Wednesday, 13th Jan 2016, 10:37:21 AM

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