“Providing banking facilities and an array of ATMs throughout the rural areas is unviable for banks” – Mr. Mandar Agashe, Founder and Vice Chairman, Sarvatra Technologies (Technuter Interview)
- August 16, 2018
- Posted by: sarvatratechnologies
- Category: EFT Switching Services
Photo: Mandar Agashe, Founder & Vice Chairman, Sarvatra Technologies
Technuter: How the journey of Sarvatra Technologies began and what are the problems the company is solving in India?
Mandar Agashe: In 2010, NPCI allowed Sarvatra to be the first ASP to connect directly to NFS (National Financial Switch), thereby ushering in a revolution in small cooperative banks that were not direct members of NFS and could not become one as they were not members of RTGS, because of which co-operative banks were not interoperable with other banks. Our first breakthrough came in when HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank became the sponsor banks for Dr. Annasaheb Chougule Urban Cooperative Bank and Pandharpur Urban Cooperative Bank respectively, allowing us to on board any cooperative banks in India.
Sarvatra has evolved into a leading end-to-end solution provider for urban, semi-urban and rural banking sectors, always striving to stay ahead on the technology curve. Sarvatra’s focus since its inception has been to address the special requirements of the rural/cooperative banking sector, endeavouring to remove all budgetary, technological, operational, and infrastructural problems faced by the sector. Overall idea is to bring them on a digital platform and be a part of financial inclusion.
T: Sarvatra Technologies is also providing Micro ATM solutions. What are the benefits of Micro ATMs and how do you envisage its importance going forward?
MA: Providing banking facilities and an array of ATMs throughout the rural areas is unviable for banks due to high Infrastructure cost, low number of accounts, low volume and value of transactions. The government has suggested a Micro ATM model for increasing transactions in the rural areas. Micro ATM is a bank-led model which facilitates online interoperable financial inclusion transaction using handheld terminals through Business Correspondent (BC) / Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS).
Micro ATM solution is integral part of Government of India’s financial inclusion mission. It offers various banking services at an affordable cost to the vast sections of disadvantaged and low-income group. The various solutions include: a) RuPay Card-based On-us and Off-us transaction on Micro ATMs b) AEPS Cardless On-us and Off-us transactions on Micro ATMs c) eKYC transactions d) alternate banking channel for Bank’s own customers.
The importance of Micro ATM solution is going to increase, due to its following benefits:
- Micro ATM solution enables the unbanked rural people to easily access micro banking services in a very cost-effective manner at remote locations.
- Micro ATM solution creates additional earning opportunity to the BC as well as Acquiring Bank.
- Micro ATM enables online updating of transactions, thereby helping rural banking digitalisation.
- Micro ATM are cost-effective. They support vernacular language display and voice with inbuilt biometric authentication that helps the banks to achieve total financial inclusion in real terms.
T: What is the trend in UPI transactions during the first half of 2018? How much growth do you foresee in the next half of the year?
MA: In January 2018, a total of 151 million UPI transactions were conducted in India with a total value of Rs. 15,571 Cr. By June 2018, i.e. in 6 months, the national volume increased by 61% to 246 million UPI transactions while the total value more than doubled to Rs. 40,834 Cr., a whopping 260% increase. We envisage this exponential growth trend to continue in the coming months and years.
Sarvatra’s UPI solution implements complete UPI functionality and has been operational since the launch of UPI in April 2016. June 2018 registered 132 million transactions aggregating a value of around Rs. 20,000 Cr. on the Sarvatra UPI platform. Thus, Sarvatra has maintained its leadership position by accounting for more than 50% of the national transactions on UPI today.
T: How is Sarvatra Technologies helping rural banks in India?
MA: Prior to Sarvatra, possessing their own world-class Data Centre and Payments Infrastructure was difficult for small rural / cooperative banks due to the huge capex involved in owning and managing the required infrastructure. Sarvatra provided the entire infrastructure required for a bank to centralize its system and to participate in the national payment network as a managed service. The entire setup is managed by Sarvatra, while the operating cost is on a pay-per-use basis. This enables even the smallest rural / cooperative bank to offer modern customer facilities with minimal expenditure and shortest time to go live.
Our shared infrastructure includes:
- Payments Switches — EFT (ATM, POS, E-Com), IMPS, BBPS, UPI, AEPS, eKYC, Micro ATMs, Aadhaar Data Vault
- Core Banking System — with more than two decades of experience in providing complete functionality and ease of use
- Mobile Banking Platform — providing mobile banking, funds transfer – IMPS & UPI, bill payments, card management and such facilities at the fingertips of customers of the banks. It also offers mobile apps for AEPS, eKYC, Aadhaar Pay, Daily Deposits Collection, BBPS (agent app)
- Self-service Web Portal — for banks for card management, ATM monitoring, dispute management, MIS, Reconciliation and so on
- Monitoring Interface — ATM/POS monitoring, Card Management, Network link monitoring
- Data Centre — PCI-DSS v3.2, ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management System), ISO 22301:2012 (Business Continuity Management System) Best in class technical infrastructure including Oracle Exadata engineered system, Nutanix hyper converged systems, top of the line CISCO networking components and firewalls, Multiple redundant HSMs providing best in class security, scalability and reliability
- Disaster Recovery (DR) site — with similar Server, Network, and DB hardware as the primary Data Centre
- Integrated Payments Platform — Comprehensive payment functionality and end-to-end transaction processing for greater efficiency, security, easy integration and advanced risk management
- 24×7 Service Desk
Our solution for the rural banks in India has the following salient features:
- Advanced technology at an affordable price.
- Access to a large national ATM/Merchant network.
- Access to real time data to offer modern banking services to customers across branches affordably.
- Multiple connectivity options between branches & Data Centre.
- Easy to deploy across a wide area.
- Generates MIS.
- No special training required.
- Offers a new paradigm for increasing efficiency and new revenue streams.
T: How exactly is Sarvatra Technologies associated with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)?
MA: Sarvatra is India’s pioneering technology company to develop payment solutions on the NPCI platform. Our several firsts include being India’s first ASP to enable sub-member banks on RuPay ATM, E-Com, VAS, and IMPS. We have developed 5 different switches (EFT, IMPS, BBPS, UPI, AEPS) for various NPCI products. Today, Sarvatra enjoys 55% market share in NPCI’s sponsor model, with more than 1.5+ Crore debit cards issued till date.
T: How is Sarvatra Technologies contributing to financial inclusion goals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
MA: On 31st December 2016, India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in his New Year’s Eve speech addressed the nation and announced a slew of measures to boost the digital economy of the country. One key announcement was that in the next 3 months, RuPay debit cards will be issued to Kisan Credit Card (KCC) customers, totalling 3 Crore (30 million) to enable the rural bank customers to withdraw money from ATMs and sell and buy at any place through digital transactions. Sarvatra singlehandedly issued 1 Crore Debit Cards to KCC (Kisan Credit Card) customers, thereby achieving 1/3rd of the 3 Crore national target set by the PM. District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs), the issuers of KCCs, were amongst Sarvatra’s clients, and we helped them achieve the target comfortably within time.
Also, the Bhim AadhaarPay product inaugurated by PM Mr. Narendra Modi was running on Sarvatra’s AEPS platform at ICICI Bank.
T: Please share some of the key milestones that company has achieved till now?
- India’s first ASP certified by NPCI to provide switch-to-switch connectivity under sub-membership model for nationwide connectivity through NFS’ ATM network.
- India’s first ASP to get a sub-member bank live on RuPay Debit.
- India’s first ASP to get a sub-member bank live on IMPS.
- Invented India’s first POS-based ATM.
- India’s first ASP to get a sub-member bank live on RuPay E-com
- Sarvatra’s technology platforms handle more than 50% UPI transactions and 30% IMPS transactions nationally.
- 10 million transactions for ATM, POS and E-Com with a total value of Rs. 3,000 Crore were managed on Sarvatra hosted payments platform in June 2018.
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