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infra-sharing by banks will help boost financial inclusion

New Delhi, July 19 (Calcutta Tube) Infrastructure sharing and development of a common pool of business correspondents by the banking service providers will reduce the cost of transaction and boost financial inclusion, Information Technology Secretary R. Chandrashekhar said here Monday.

‘The reduction in the cost of transaction will come about when the banking service providers, quite like the telecom service providers, are willing to enter into passive infrastructure sharing,’ said Chandrashekhar in a conference hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Financial inclusion is the delivery of banking services at affordable costs to vast sections of disadvantaged and low income groups.

Chandrashekhar also stressed that the banking and financial service providers could share a whole range of middleware. Mobile-linked no frills bank accounts can operate through such shared infrastructure, but only if the inter-operability issues are tackled.

Talking about the viabilty factors, Ajai Chowdhury, chairman HCL Infosystem, asserted that financial inclusion should not only cover the population in the 6 lakh villages but also those living in the smaller cities.

He also said that unique identity number will prove helpful for financial inclusion but the long term success will depend on affordability of technologies provided to the stakeholders.

Talking about connectivity, Kuldeep Goyal, chairman, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, said that his company has started the facility of village public telephone, common service centres and optic fibre lines.

‘Over 2.5 lakh villages will be connected by optic fibre cables over the next three years,’ he added.

With WiMax base stations providing wireless connectivity in villages, he stressed on promotion of applications in local languages.

‘With 3G technologies penetrating in villages, local language applications will greatly promote the pace of financial inclusion,’ he said.

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