While the Telangana State government is at the forefront in taking services to the doorstep of the citizens through various IT initiatives, the state, national and global banks in the state are complementing to these endeavours by working jointly through integration of modern banking technology, writes Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN)
Modern banking technology that enables mobile banking, internet banking, and other money distribution channels like ATM through Core Banking Solutions (CBS) are not only concentrated in the urban areas but also reaching out in the rural areas with the help of state government flagship programs. Various egovernance programs of the state government have the banking facilities and services as an integral part.
One of the key initiatives of the state government is ‘ePanchayat’, in which several banks in Telangana State have joined hands to take the banking services to remotest parts of rural space.
Banking services could reach these non-branch areas of the banks through common computerised centers called ‘Digital Telangana Centers’ being set up under ePanchayat program. These centers which provide eGovernance services to villagers were first launched in a village of Nalgonda district of Telangana in October, 2015. By December 2015, the state government opened another 100 such centers in different gram panchayat across the state and is working to scale it up by another 1,000 centers.
“We are already working on increasing the number of ‘Digital Telangana Centers’ to 1,100 by end of April, 2016,” Srinivas Pendyala, Deputy Director (Technical), Telangana IT department said. Each center will have PCs, laptops printers, scanners and large-size LED TV sets. For each center Rs. 2.5 lakh is being spent, added the official.
Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary for Telangana IT Department said, “Several banks that have their branches in the state are working with us to convert these centers also as their rural branches. The banks will facilitate banking services to the account holders in the villages. State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), Andhra Bank, Telangana Grameena Bank and others have already extended their services at the existing centers.” Unique feature of these centers is that they will be managed by local women who are trained in using computers and software to operate ePanchayat program.
In the state, there are 8,750 gram panchayats (GP) and we plan to have one ‘Digital Telangana Centers’ in every GP. Each center will be managed by a trained local woman who will be known as Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE), said the State IT Secretary.
Similarly, insurance companies are also coming forward to convert these Centers into insurance centers. The insurance firms Future Generalli among others have come forward to link their insurance services.
Besides, banking and insurance services, these centers are also serving for citizen services, government services, payments of social welfare pensions and wages of rural employment.
Technological deployment at par
Meanwhile, the Telangana State Cooperative Apex Bank (TSCAB), which leads the cooperative credit structure across all the districts of Telangana state, is on par with the international corporate banks with integration of Core Banking Solution (CBS).
The TSCAB has a total of 249 branches in the respective districts of the state with a centralized data center at Hyderabad, using state of the art, cutting edge, leading technology for their core banking activities achieving speeding service delivery to its clientele.
It has also taken up new technology initiatives by entering into the centralized payment system offering RTGS/NEFT services to the customers from October 2012. Further CTS, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBTL), and Aadhaar Based payment Bridge System (ABBs) also been implemented for providing immediate release of subsidies to the clients.
“About 80 per cent of our branches are fully computerised with CBS and will become 100 per cent computerised shortly. While the commercial banks provide all the modern banking services like mobile banking, internet banking, we will be providing all similar services to rural folks,” said Srinivas Muppaneni, Chief Information Officer, TSCAB.
There are over 800 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies in Telangana state and all of these societies will also be computerised with CBS by 2016-2017 supported by the PACs computerisation scheme of NABARD. All these societies will also be equipped with micro ATMs that will function as ATMs at the societies and bank. These micro ATMs are swipe machines through which a bank can remotely connect to the bank’s core banking system using the debit card. Over 25 lakh Telangana RuPay Cards are being provided to the rural folks across the state.
In addition to all these, farmers will be provided with ‘Kisan Credit Card’ through which they can make purchases related to agriculture at connected fertilizer, seeds and other agriculture connected outlets. This Kisan Credit card works on a cloud based system, said the official.
In line with the directions of the Reserve Bank on implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfers and its convergence with Financial Inclusion, the Telangana State Level Banker’s Committee (SLBC) has adopted ‘One District Many Bank One Leader’ bank model.
The Telangana SLBC, in order to ensure opening of Aadhaar Enabled Bank Accounts (AEBA) on the directions of Reserve Bank (which is the part of financial inclusion plan of Government of India), has proactively rolled out DBT for direct credit of benefits in the account of beneficiaries in related districts.
Leveraging the Aadhaar platform, delivery of social welfare benefits by credit to the bank accounts of beneficiaries is being done. This platform is already being used as a unique identifier for the beneficiaries for routing all social security payments through the banking network.
However, at the district administration level of the state government, selected schemes like pensions for widows and senior citizens, the disbursal of amount to the beneficiaries are being done based on the individual biometric identity.
Introduction of biometric credentials as the identifier, despite the Aadhaar identity is to weed out ineligible beneficiaries and ensure timely disbursement, official believe.
In Ranga Reddy district of Telangana state, there are about 2.81 lakh Aasara pensioners and to the surprise of the officials, widow pensioners outnumber old age pensioners. While there are 1.10 lakh age old pensions, there are 1.31 lakh widow pensions. “Pensions, which are not for ever but are subject to rectification in case of widow pensions. Hence, whenever we come across an ineligible pension we delete the account as some of them get married. For this biometric credentials of individuals are more accurate for identification.”