South Asia Monitor: Calling on Mobile Banking: Financial Inclusion in Rural India - July 1, 2010
By Riddhima GandhiJul 1, 2010
The mobile phone revolution is sweeping across India and has the potential to dramatically transform the lives of the nation’s rural poor. An estimated 8 million rural Indians who own mobile phones do not have access to banks. This gap is only widening. Intense competition and innovation within the telecommunications sector in the last decade has catapulted India into the largest and fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world. Today India is uniquely poised to make use of mobile banking technologies as a conduit for not only bridging the "digital divide," but also fostering financial inclusion. In India’s highly unequal society, where 40 percent of the population has no access to financial services, "inclusive growth" has been recognized as a key priority for securing the future success of the country. This newsletter analyzes the role that regulators, financial institutions, technology, and service providers are playing in improving access and deliverability of mobile banking services to India’s rural poor.