ENABLING A BILLION ATMs-Ashutosh Pande  Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, PaySe

Ashutosh Pande 
Founder & Chief Innovation Officer,

Ashutosh Pande, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, PaySe speaks about how PaySe delivers convenience of a card with atomicity of cash. Pande, in a converstation with Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN), also gives an insight on the Union Government’s much ambitious “Digital India” and “Make in India” initiatives poised to boost country’s economy

Kindly give an overview on PaySe. For digital platforms, private players are always game for new innovations but do you think the government will come up with more demand?
PaySe™ is the world’s first offline digital cash solution designed and created with an aim to democratise money. Democratisation of communication drove the velocity of information and democratisation of money is poised to drive velocity of cash. PaySe™ utilises the latest advancement in mobility, big data, open source and crypto currency (primarily tokenisation) to deliver world’s first secure offline peer to peer payment solution. PaySe™ is digital cash operating within the regulatory guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It delivers the convenience of a card with the fungibility and atomicity of cash.
With the government’s latest approach of Unified Payments Interface (UPI), it is visible that innovation is the need of the hour to uplift BFSI sector. New technologies have become adaptable solution even for the government. We are confident that we will surely see a surge in demand from the government for innovative platforms, like ours.

Government of India is laying a lot of emphasis on financial inclusion these days. What is your view on financial inclusion through digitisation? How do you see this theme moving ahead from here?
In the recent years, we have seen a technological evolution across sectors, bringing in solutions to the once unimaginable problems. Technology also comes as an answer to the current problem of non-financial inclusive states, making digitisation as its leading weapon. As an instance Bill Gates once said, “If we were building a financial system from scratch today, we’d do it on a digital platform.” Going by his words, we can see that digital technology has immense potential to reach out to the masses and engage them in fast paced and easier communications, and this is what a financial system needs in broadening its outreach amongst the lower income groups.
billing_atmJAM initiative has brought over 200 million people under the fold of banking system. Use of Direct Banking Transfer (DBT) to Aadhaar linked bank account has enabled direct deposit of government subsidy/payment to beneficiary’s account. However, the key challenge in the last mile remains intact. Once a citizen receives the DBT in the bank account they need to withdraw it. Most of the beneficiaries have to travel long distance (around 10-20 KM) to withdraw money as there are no ATM’s nearby and even if they get one, then the chances of money availability in those ATM’s is scant. Due to this hassle, most of the beneficiaries try to withdraw money in the one go resulting in money moving out of banking system. Bridging the last mile is where PaySe™ can play a key role.

You are in talks with banks, MFIs, NBFCs and small finance banks already. What exactly is your plan as of now?
The time and money consumed in collection and transportation is huge. Collecting cash from the groups and moving to regional branch or bank branch is a tedious task. Due to security risk, most of the MFI’s cap the limit of CASH their executives can carry, thereby artificially constraining the growth. Also, reconciliation of cash is a big challenge which consumes lots of time and effort of MFI branches. The limited on the ground operation of the executive leads to scalability of SHG groups becoming linear and is driven by the number of executive an MFI can hire and trained. PaySe™ addresses most of these issues through its digital solution— PURSE. It gives the freedom of transferring the collected cash to one’s bank account at the comfort of the collector through PaySe™ device. We have recently released a report of the field trials. Our initial focus is to reduce cost of cash and escalate velocity of money. Conversion Points (CP) is an individual person or entity that converts physical currency to digital currency and vice versa.

PaySe could also address challenges faced by banks and microfinance institutions in making basic banking services accessible to the unbanked. Please elaborate on this?
PaySe™ is focused in reducing the cost of cash for banks and other financial institutes, like the upcoming Payment Banks and Saving Banks. By digitising CASH, PaySe™ makes cash available for “Withdraw” or ‘”Deposit” from the remotest corner of India; or the world. While Micro ATM has been introduced, they still require “Physical” cash disbursement. PaySe™ disburses ‘Digital’ cash from any Bluetooth-enabled Android Smartphone. With the ‘Deposit’ feature all the collections of an MFI can be deposited into the sponsor bank account in less than 30 seconds. There is no need to count, transport and reconcile cash.

PaySe™ addresses issues through its digital solution PURSE which gives the freedom of transferring the collected cash to one’s bank account at the comfort of the collector

What is your take on Government of India’s much ambitious flagship programmes like Make in India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Digital India? What are your expectations from the government?
The government is taking major steps to make India a financially inclusive nation. It has started various initiatives to make the agenda a success through JAM, Make in India, PMJDY and Digital India. While initiatives like these help in educating the general public it also makes India a favorable space for entrepreneurs and startups.
Electronic hardware development requires a complex ecosystem of component suppliers and fabricators. Government will need to create an environment for ‘Co-opetition’ – cooperation and competition in this ecosystem.

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