Economy Events

How to leverage Billion unique IDs

Worldwide FinTech is the happening space now, it’s true for India too. As per a recent study done by KPMG for Nasscom the Indian Fintech market is expected to double from $1.2 Billion to $2.4 billion in just 4 years; number of angel deals increased from 370 in 2014 to 691 in 2015 with over $1.5 billion of investments made in 2015.

In this background TiE Chennai has setup a Special Interest Group (SIG) for promoting collaboration around FinTech. A FinTech newsletter put together by the SIG was released in the event, you can download a copy from here.

Today in partnership with CAMS they had organised a talk on AADHAAR, the unique ID for every Indian project by Government of India. The keynote speaker was Mr.Ramesh Vijayakumar from National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).  Hearing Mr.Ramesh speak I learnt that NPCI is a Not for Profit organisation setup by Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks Association (IBA) handling many of the payment integrations in India. NPCI is responsible for IMPS which enables instant money transfer between bank accounts in India, RuPay, Cheque Clearing House and others.

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In his talk Mr.Ramesh focused on the Aadhar Payment Bridge and related services by NPCI. He talked about how they enabled in few weeks time a system to do direct benefit transfer to hundreds of millions of accounts by getting just the AADHAAR number and the amount from Government of India. For any banking transaction you need the beneficiary account number and bank branch’s IFSC code, in this case they didn’t have any of that from GoI. So they came up with a system in consultation with Banks, where by most Banks in India (Public and Private) upload a file every day from their core banking system to NPCI. The file contains the AADHAAR numbers that were mapped new or updated by respective customers, every row in the file contained the AADHAR, account number and IFSC for that individual. This way NPCI can map to bank account details of an individual just by having AADHAAR.

Mr.Ramesh also talked about how NPCI along with Telcos have enabled access to AADHAAR related payments from even feature phones (over 50% of mobile in India are feature phones) using USSD Gateway. Two such apps they had developed are 99# 9999#. Simply dialling 99# from their mobile phone through an interactive menu banking customers can do transactions. Similarly by dialling 9999#  banking customers can check the status of their Aadhaar number linking with their bank account (the mapping we talked above). I tried the service and it correctly displayed the bank name where I had mapped my AADHAAR number.

Though FinTech is not related to what I do presently I was happy to learn India’s public sector organisations are innovating in taking banking to the rural mass of India. Congratulations.

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You can see me in the second row, second from right. Photo Courtesy: TiE Chennai