Director, Atom Technologies
How far has been your product ‘Atom-Sewa’ been successful in addressing the fi nancial inclusion of the excluded?
We started the Atom Sewa to model we created a technology and focused on the device in-house, we have two elements one is the service provider i.e. business correspondent where we have promoted a Section 21 company called Grameen Pragati Foundation and other side is the technology to render the service. The technology aspect has the device with fingerprint and biometric authentication and we have the card interface as we are providing the villager a card and they could be of multiple formats depending upon connectivity. The telecom revolution will bring connectivity to villages, so the fi rst need is that we begin applications on a device that is currently available with us. We innovated on the atom sewa model Business Correspondent can use his/her mobile to deliver the fi nancial services. as mobile are now ubiquitous and can act as a smart phone available at even INR 3000 and in areas which lack or with limited connectivity we have innovated with the feature with a device that understands fi ngerprints.
We aim to bridge the digital divide by providing the urban amenities in the rural areas. Mobile telephony can change the rural landscape. The mobile banking and payment services are aspirations of every customer urban or rural, and mobiles and IT will bring down the operational cost and time down. Information Technology will revolutionse customized products, as there is certain amount of saturation at urban markets and there is an interest in the rural markets. We are looking at Maharashtra, UP , Gujarat for Atom Sewa, we are working with MFIs in Rajasthan. MFIs main area of concerns are collections, hence audit trail and micro-fi nance collection system will be an area of need, mobiles are going to be again an interface for collection trail though innovative technology mediated audit trails.
What are the security aspects that have been undertaken for the m-Payments and m- Banking services?
Security is authentication of customer. They have a card, and we have the photograph verifi cation, followed by fi ngerprint verifi cation. Technology security for transfer of data is protected as data stored inside the device is all encrypted. The device are mechanical and as back up we have the hard-copy print outs. We have hence developed end-to-end encrypted security systems from transactional security and front-end security model. Cryptographic engines are available on the device that ensures secure applications.
You have addressed the issue of localization of content for your various products and services. In this regard, what is the value addition that you have brought for the customers?
Localisation of content includes pure information or e-Governance services. Atom has been a major player in offering transaction services. Information in banking systems does not require much of localisation of content, instead it is localisation of voice tags and receipts and is primarily related to information that you are delivering in villages. The localisation in fi nancial services would really mean the localisation of services is in sync with the local needs and requirements of the customers. Localisation of information is the key to the success of the business model. Grameen Suvidha Kendras of MCX we have wedded with them selling seeds and fertilizers as value add services, as one-stop shop and the villager need not go out for these services. We are also offering micro-insurance services in collaboration with LIC We will scaleup this year and create around 1500 touch-points as we need to understand the demographics and local needs very well, but certain needs are omnipresent everyone, hence we need to offer relevant bouquet of services. Hence technology can be localised keeping in mind the customer and its regional, but we also need to understand the regional and local service requirements to make the information services addressing the local needs.
Have you got any tie ups with any state /central government departments for your services? What are the benefi ts the government vertical can derive from your products?
We are working with state governments for bringing the service applications across the state. We are working for tie-ups with strong rural presence such as MCX etc. The idea is to create a social entrepreneur at the rural level offering services to the villagers, to offer the fi nancial services as facilitators of the banks to bring in the fi nancial excluded to the fi nancial included security net. The CSCs need to go beyond the PC and have a bouquet of services on the mobiles, as mobile telephony catches up with the customers. We need to realize that rural aspirations are at par with urban aspirations and we would need to get innovative in bringing fi nancial services to the rural landscape.