DIRECT BENEFIT TRANSFER IN INDIA: A STRATEGY PAPER FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION

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India needs an good strategy for success of efforts towards inclusive growth. This paper shows the way.

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  • 1. STRATEGY PAPER ON DIRECT BENEFIT TRANSFER: HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN BY A.V.V.PRASAD ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONER RURAL DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH HYDERABAD 9676123427: avvprasad1@gmail.com PROJECT REPORT IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF ADVANCED PROGRAM IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT CALCUTTA 18th JULY 2013 NB: The paper is kept in public domain for general good. The contents reflect personal views of the author and not of any Government or IIMC. Comments and suggestions are welcome by email. Contents may be used for any legal purpose, with due acknowledgement and no risk to the author for accuracy, success or failure of implementation.

2. DIRECT BENEFIT TRANSFER: MEANING: Transfer of Benefits from Government to the Residents: Subsidies, Pensions, Scholarships, MGNREGA Wages, etc. to the Beneficiarys bank account and payment of cash at their doorstep. Essential aspects: Benefits are credited to beneficiarys bank account, based on AADHAAR. Duplicates & ghosts are weeded out from databases of user departments and banks. Cash is paid to the beneficiary at doorstep. Financial Inclusion: Outreach of banking services to all residents, including the poorest and those located in remote areas. DBT: The System: 1. Unique Identification Authority of India-UIDAI: Enrolls citizens and gives each a 12 digit Unique Identification Number. 2. Central Identities Data Repository-CIDR maintains national repository of biometric identities of residents enrolled by the UIDAI. 3. National Payments Corporation of India-NPCI maintains Aadhaar Payment Bridge System and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System, operates Inter-bank Switch, transacts online with Banks on Core Banking Solution platform. 4. Banks open accounts for residents, using their UID for KYC (Know Your Customer) for proof identity and address. Bank links the account number and UID on APBS mapper. 5. Technology Service Provider: To provide hardware and software services to banks to facilitate outreach of banking/financial services. 6. Business Correspondent: Private corporate agency, a banking intermediary to manage outreach operations (management of cash & CSPs). 7. Customer Service Provider (CSP): a resident villager/ acting as agent of BC to deliver payments & banking services at village level with the help of networked hand-held Point of Sale machine called Micro ATM. 3. 8. User Agency: Department/undertaking of Government of India or State Government or local body intends to deliver benefits to residents having an electronic database of residents with their UIDs. 9.Resident enrolls with UIDAI, gets UID number, opens account with bank, accesses benefits/services from Government agencies in his own village or anywhere he likes. DBT: The Process: A. User agency (Government Department) sends a file to their bank consisting of a list of beneficiaries and benefits containing only three fields UID number and amount to be credited. B. Bank debits user agency account and forwards the file to NPCI adding bank data. C. NPCI credits accounts linked to the UIDs. Thus UID is like financial address of the resident. D. Resident approaches CSP for payment. CSP accesses account online, pays cash to customer taking his finger print biometric authentication on micro ATM; issues transaction print out. Direct Benefit Transfer: Services delivered 1. Credit of benefits to bank account with UID as financial address. 2. Payment of Cash at village level. 3. Inter-operable across banks and service providers, accessible anywhere. Financial Inclusion: 4. Basic Banking Services. 5. Deposits: Savings, Recurring, Fixed Deposits 6. Micro advances or overdraft. 7. Remittances across place, bank, person. 8. Micro Insurance. 4. DBT: MERITS OF THE SYSTEM 1. OUTREACH OF BANKING SERVICES: A. There are 6 lakh villages in India. They are served by a mere 30000 rural branches of banks. B. Over 51% of population in India has no access to banking or financial services. C. Most of the accounts opened as part of Financial Inclusion Plan over the last 7 years, are not useful for the poor, as there are not enough branches or staff to serve them. Business Correspondent System is not functioning in most of the villages. So there are only accounts and no transactions for most of the poor. D. Payments and banking services can now be delivered to the poor in their own village: robust and reliable system, saving time and money. E. Aadhaar as KYC (Know Your Customer): proof of identity & address. 2. REDUCTION IN WASTAGE & CORRUPTION: A. Eliminates duplicate & ghost beneficiaries B. Detects impersonation, misrepresentation, ineligible beneficiaries, and fraud. C. Huge savings in Government expenditure on welfare schemes: Potential Business of DBT in Annual Volumes*: Benefits from Union Government: Rs. 3 lakh crores Benefits from Governments of States: Rs. 4 lakh crores Savings from elimination of ghosts, duplicates & ineligible persons: 10% to 30% Expected Annual Savings: Rs. 140000 crores. * Research required to collect exact expenditure values. 5. 3. Huge business opportunity for Banks. A. Annual Volume of DBT Payments: Rs. 7 lakh crores. Expected Revenue: 2% Service Charge: Rs. 14000 crores. B. Basic Banking services under Financial Inclusion Plan: Rs. 4 lakh crores. Expected Revenue from basic banking & FI services: Rs. 12000 crores. 4. Financial Integration of Rural India: A. Now financial transactions can flow freely even to the remote areas, covering the poor and marginalized sections. B. Aadhaar works as proof of identity and proof of address for the residents and facilitates instantaneous opening of bank account and delivery of services. 5. Efficient Government: A. Better targeting and delivery of services and benefits to the poor. B. CIDR provides safe storage of resident data and reliable service of biometric authentication as a public utility. C. Backbone for hassle free financial services for inclusive growth. Gold Mine of Opportunity, but no Gold Rush 1. Annual Savings of Rs.140000 crores for Govt. 2. Annual Revenue of Rs.26000 crores for Banks. 3. People are waiting for services. Serving the poor is an attractive business opportunity. 4. The poor deserve financial services and Service must be seen as a right for inclusive growth. 6. 5. Technology has come of age & robust systems are in place. 6. DBT launched in January 2013, but moving very slowly. 7. UID delivery crossed 25%, 50% in many States, but Banks have not positioned Micro ATMs. Few takers for grant from UIDAI. 8. SBI Group and nationalized banks are not on board. Banks prefer to wait & watch. 9. Financial Inclusion Products and services are not rolled out. Trigger the Gold Rush: A Strategic Approach: 1. Neutralize First-mover disadvantages and create First-mover advantage: 1.1. The greatest inhibitor is that a UID is linked to the account of the latest bank on APB mapper. The first mover loses his customers in no time to the latest predator. All the time and money spent on reaching out to customers will be a colossal waste. Therefore, all banks love to wait and watch. DBT will take ages to roll out in this paradigm. The new rule can be: A. The first bank to seed the account and make payment on AEPS retains the seeding for a period of one year as the default banker. B. Any other competing bank can open bank account and link it on APB with their IIN. C. At the end of one year, which ever bank makes the maximum number of AEPS payments in the year for the UID, will become the default banker for the UID. In case of a tie, old bank continues. D. Any UID based credit on APBS or debit on AEPS will be routed to the defaulter banker. E. User departments will credit benefits by default based on UID. F. Citizen can access front-end services from any bank or BC in the interoperable scenario. 7. 2. Policy trails practice: 2.1. Stakeholders are not identified, positioned and facilitated. Their compensation is not defined. Uncertainty looms large. There is no business case for anyone. 2.2. Pain Point: Risk of Wrong Authentication by false acceptance: UIDAI wants Banks to take the risk. Banks have refused and stayed out, rightly so. UIDAI can create a Fund to cover the risks of wrong seeding and false acceptance. Risk may be covered upto Rs.10000/- per transaction, duly charging a risk premium. 2.3. Law is required to cover the new field of biometric enrollments, storage of data, its use for financial transactions and risk of misuse, fraud, protection of actions done in good faith, recovery of amounts credited wrongly, issues of privacy, etc. 2.3. Post Office as Bank: Department of Posts has extensive branch network and large savings account base, a money order system and a postal life insurance. They have gained adequate experience in Andhra Pradesh in payment of MGNREGA Wages and Social Security Pensions. They need to modernize, come on Core Banking Solution, obtain a Banking license, recruit and train personnel to take over FI operations and payments. 2.4. Supply of Micro ATMs: 6 lakh villages need micro ATMs. Sourcing them is a big challenge. Should a PSU produce them internally? 2.5. Universal Service Obligation: Service as a Right. Banks should be called on to step in and extend services to unserved areas and clientele, if they should have to access high value business in urban areas. Enterprise and innovation in financial inclusion shall outreach as many banking services as possible under financial inclusion sector. 2.6. There should be no service tax on financial inclusion services for a period of five or ten years. 8. 3. Appointment of Business Correspondents: 3.1. To learn from the experience: A. Though B.C. System was initiated by RBI in 2006, their service charges were not defined. Banks were expected to employ TSP, BC, CSP and render services under corporate social responsibility or universal service obligation at nominal charges with little regard for the cost of service. Remuneration for services and stakes of service providers were not determined properly. Thus BC system failed to achieve financial inclusion. B. Common RFP for Appointment of BCs: Banks have little or no experience in appointing and managing BCs. Therefore common RFP was floated for all public sector banks. It failed to take off, as ridiculously low rates were taken by the contending BCs. How public sector banks will appoint BCs, procure microATMs and position them at what terms and in what timelines is THE GREAT UNCERTAINITY OF THE HOUR. C. Private Banks and Business Correspondents: On the other hand, the private sector banks, especially the ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have demonstrated willingness to take risks and the capability to put in place a working system for DBT. 4. ANDHRA PRADESH SMART CARD PROJECT of Rural Development Department of Government of Andhra Pradesh: Visionary Leadership in Electronic Benefit Transfer for payment of MGNREGA Wages and Social Security Pensions: A. All Gram Panchayats in the State are allotted to Banks or post office. Banks engaged services of business correspondents. B. Payments in progress in 95% of Villages. Beneficiaries are paid at GP office, post office or at doorstep. C. Benefits are directly credited to beneficiary accounts in bank/post office and paid to beneficiaries. 9. D. Local SHG Woman or local post office as last mile service delivery point with a handheld PoS machine/microATM. E. Biometric authenticated payments of the pre-Aadhaar era. F. MGNREGA Wages paid once a week and Social Security Pensions paid once a month. G. 15 million accounts, Rs.11000 crores since 2007; Rs.4091 crores during FY 2012-13. H. AP leads in enrollments and payments on the Aadhaar platform too. AEPS was launched in East Godavari district on 6.1.2013. I. AP is gearing to be the first Universal Aadhaar State. J. Government of Andhra Pradesh pays 2% of the amount disbursed as commission to smart card banks. This model inspired the APBS- AEPS also, but there is no clarity for stakeholders. Clear definition of stakes and their delivery system are required to inspire stakeholder participation. K. Many banks and post office participated in AP Smart Card Project and gained knowledge and skills which can be gainfully adopted expeditious roll out of DBT on aadhaar platform. 5. Path-breaking work: Support required for success of DBT: 5.1. First-mover Banks (as also States) have to test the system and initialize it. They do path-breaking work, encountering resistance to change from primary and secondary stakeholders. They take responsibility in the front-end for failures of the back-end and for all system bottlenecks. Delays in roll out of the entire system and its stabilization result in time and cost over- runs. 6. To facilitate transition: neutralize inhibitors, resolve bottlenecks. 6.1. Banks to appoint Business Correspondents 6.2. BC to appoint Customer Service Providers 6.3. Bank/BC to position Micro ATMs & start services. 10. 6.4. Banks to enable inter-operability with other banks. 6.5. Bank/BC to set up Cash management system. 6.6. User Departments to seed their databases. 6.7. Banks to seed their customers with UID and link accounts on APB mapper. 6.8. User departments to send APBS payorders. 6.9. Exception Handling Procedures: 2 to 5% of residents may not have the fingerprint quality required for online authentication. Common Exception handling procedures need to be incorporated in the rules by the regulator and adopted by all banks. Adequate safeguards should be provided against misuse of the facility. Messenger payment as provided in post office savings account rules may be adopted by banks also. One Time Password sent by SMS to linked mobile is another alternative. 7. Reward System: Identify Stakeholders and reward the value chain activities: There should be a business case for every participant activity and stakeholder. It should be clearly defined and delivered. It should be fixed by regulator and be left to contracting by individual banks. It should meet the costs and also give room for profit. DBT will lead to mainstreaming financial inclusion as a separate line of business, calling for special expertise with its own volumes and design of products and services. 7.1. Sponsored Bank: (easy work: any bank can do it with office at State/district headquarters): Maintains User department accounts and initiates APB transactions to credit benefits and shares feedback file. This is work is relatively simple and is generally compensated by the float enjoyed by the bank in User department accounts. If sponsored bank is unduly paid more, banks with greater clout will rather prefer to lobby for User Department account, than toil in the heat of the last mile to extend services to the end customer. 11. Recommended Remuneration: 0.15% only to cover costs of APBS & risk fund for wrong seeding losses. 7.2. Beneficiary Bank: one-time effort to acquire customer is critical to the system: To access the beneficiary and...

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