Zeroing in on branchless rural banking

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This is the first time, villagers in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh will receive payments under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) through a cutting-edge disbursement method.

The recipients have received RFID ( Radio Frequency Identification) equipped smart cards. The disbursing official carries the entire bank system on a special mobile phone, which has been enhanced by a chip developed by the European semiconductor company NXP with the contributions from its Indian development laboratory in Bangalore. The chip enables secure data communication between the phone and RFID smart cards, using contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Mumbai-based technology developer, A Little World has designed NXP based 'Zero' mobile platform. The company has partnered with the non-profit agency Zero Micro-finance and the Savings Support Foundation (ZMF) to launch the project on a pilot basis in Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and the North Eastern States. Six banks, including the SBI, Union Bank, UTI Bank, Andhra Bank, SBH and AP Grameen Bank and the RGI will deliver Zero platform based banking services to rural citizens.

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