RBI’s First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17 has set out two main tasks for strengthening the BC network:
The BC model offers significant scope for further strengthening. Accordingly, the following initiatives are proposed:
- In order to ensure the competence of BCs and to promote quality delivery of financial services, a graded certification/training programme for BCs is proposed to be introduced. This would enable BCs with a good track record and advanced training to be entrusted with more complex tasks such as handling/delivery of financial products that go beyond deposit and remittance. The Reserve Bank will issue the necessary framework for establishing a certification programme for BCs by end-June 2016. Based on the framework, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) will be requested to put in place a system of training and certification of BCs in coordination with external training institutes.
- In order to have a tracking system of BCs, it is proposed to create a registry covering all BCs, both existing and new. The registration will be online and will capture basic details including location of fixed point BCs, nature of operations and the like. This database will be updated on a quarterly basis. The necessary enabling framework would be issued by the Reserve Bank by end-June 2016 and the IBA will be requested to put in place a registry of BC agents in consultation with all stakeholders.
One of the key recommendations made by Indicus in “Service Quality Standards in Telecom Connectivity for Financial Inclusion Policy Brief November, 2015” was to
“Put in place a unified, harmonised database of the financial inclusion footprint, in terms of outlets, service points, devices, connectivity and agent networks, aggregated and monitored by a single source.”
It is gratifying to note that this recommendation has been picked up by the RBI Committee on Medium Term Path for Financial Inclusion (Recommendation 6.7) and is now being implemented.