Instant Cards at digital branches: Ajay Kumar

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Ajay Kumar, Head of Marketing - South Asia, Datacard Group

Datacard can play a crucial role in the government’s financial inclusion initiative by offering technology-enabled solutions for successful implementation of the programme Ajay Kumar, Head of Marketing – South Asia, Datacard Group, tells Elets News Network (ENN)

What is your view about the government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and how does Datacard connect with the initiative?

As an important stakeholder of the PMJDY programme, we are very happy about the campaign kicked off by the Prime Minister. As the initiative is high on the government’s agenda, it is modifying the government machinery to suit the requirements of PMJDY. It is coordinating with the stakeholders to streamline the Financial Inclusion initiative. In this backdrop, the role of Datacard is to offer technology-enabled solutions for successful implementation of the programme. For the banks, the initiative, instead of being a liability, is a great business opportunity, since a large amount of money would flow in. We are very optimistic and eager to be a part of this scheme.

You speak about interoperability. How can Datacard facilitate interoperability?

Interoperability works at the backend: with a single RuPay Card, a number of activities can be carried out; a single Card can be used at various bank ATMs and BC (Business Correspondent) locations. Our role in entire technology is that we provide instant personalisation and customisation of the RuPay Card. This card also works as an ID card. As a cardholder’s name is given on it, one can be recognised by it. Interoperability definitely works around the banking, but at the interface stage, we have a strong role to play.

Also Read: Venturing into eGovernance Arena

There is lack of awareness about technology among the masses. How do you plan to inform people about your technology-oriented initiatives?

Financial literacy is an important part. An account holder, who operates an account, should know what to do with his account and how to get benefits of different plans associated with his account. The banks working with BCs should take steps to educate people in their respective areas of operation.

Also Read: Technology Tools for Financial Inclusion

What challenges do you see in the entire Financial Inclusion programme?

Also, for the accounts already opened, cards are yet to be issued. That is a big challenge right now, with the finance ministry considering the steps to bridge the gap between opening of bank accounts and issuance of cards. If the cards are not issued soon, most of the accounts will become inactive and the banks will have to open these accounts once again.

Also, 15 million accounts were opened on the very first day of the programme and a total of 75 million accounts are targeted. But, maintaining the data of such a large number of account holders is another big challenge.

But why this delay in issuing the cards? Who is to blame — banks, services or lack of awareness?

No, it is due to absence of the right technology. Bank gets debit cards printed from card bureaus and then issue those to the account holders. Finally, the card reaches the account holders in 10-15 days, thus creating huge backlog of cards. As a solution, we have a system that issues instant personalised card. We can locate our system at BC locations or at bank’s regional or zonal offices where an individual goes to open his account. This is the best solution to meet this challenge.

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