Vastavam web: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday launched India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) that aims to take banking to the doorstep of every citizen by arming three lakh postmen and ‘Grameen Dak Sewaks’ with digital aids to deliver financial services. IPPB which will be available through 650 branches and 3,250 access points immediately, scaled to all 1.55 lakh post offices by December 2018 is like any other bank but with smaller scale of operations and without involving any credit risk.
The freshly-minted payments bank will accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh, offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third-party fund transfers. However, it can’t offer loans directly, or issue credit cards. “(The growing pace of) technology (in communication) threw a challenge. We used technology as a base to turn that challenge into an opportunity,” he added.
Noting that the postman has a special place in Indian movies and literature, he said the ‘daakiya’ (postman) not only delivered letters, but also read them out to the families who were not literate, and even replying to the letters on their behalf. “We have heard song ‘Dakiya dak laya’. From now, along with dakiya dak laaya, dakiya bank bhi laaya… Dak sewaks will not only help in digital transactions but will also provide training to people so they can themselves carry out digital transactions from their phones,” he said.
The postmen will not only be bankers but also digital teachers, he noted. IPPB will leverage tech platforms, to the hilt — it will use Aadhaar to open accounts, while a QR card and biometrics will drive authentication, transactions, and payments. Grameen Dak Sewaks will be armed with smartphones and biometric devices to handle transactions. Sinha said there are about 1.4 lakh bank branches and nearly 50,000 of them are in villages, which face a challenge in reaching the unbanked.
“IPPB will transform that. To the 1.4 lakh bank branches, 1.55 lakh branches will be added now with this launch,” he added. Sinha said that with the postal payments bank, people will be able to open an account in a minute with Aadhaar and biometrics. The government-backed IPPB will compete with Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm Payments Bank. IPPB will offer products and services though multiple channels such as counter services, micro ATMs, mobile banking app, messages and interactive voice response.