BHUBANESWAR: The state government today once again raised the issue of deficient financial infrastructure including bank branches, bank correspondents and low internet penetration in rural areas at the Chief Ministers committee meeting on digital payments.
Participating in the discussion over video conference from the state secretariat, Chief Secretary Aditya Padhi the immediate requirement of the state is internet connectivity both in terms of area and speed for shifting to digital payment system.
"Banking infrastructure and internet connectivity in the State more particularly in rural areas should be improved substantially from the present level for effective implementation of digital payment system," Padhi said.
While suggesting for reduction in transaction cost charged by the banks, Padhi asked for developing inter-portability across digital payment systems. He said that Buddy (mobile wallet App of SBI) should
be compatible and portable to Paytm.
Finance Secretary T K Pandey said that card swapping machines failed to operate in many area of the state including cities like Bhubaneswar due to poor internet speed.
About 60 percent of the rural banking sub-service areas do not have adequate internet connectivity for supporting 3900 micro ATMs and mobile POS (point of sale) machines. The failure rate of USSD transaction on feature phones in rural areas has been reported to the tune of 60-75 percent, he added.
Stating that banking presence in remote areas is quite insufficient, Pandey strongly pleaded for immediate improvement of telecom and mobile connectivity.
The meeting was chaired by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, convener of the Chief Ministers' panel, in New Delhi.
As many as 4,400 out of 6,665 gram panchayats do not have bank branch so far. About 1.65 crore people constituting 47 per cent of the rural population of the state do not have proper access to banking facilities.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has recently written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking mobile banking services or temporary counters in un-banked gram panchayats in the State.
Apart from Naidu and Patnaik, Chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Puducherry and Maharashtra are members of the committee. The last meeting was held on December 9.