Encourage non-bank ATMs to boost financial inclusion, say experts

India has about 2.5 to 2.6 lakh ATMs - too small a number for a country of India’s size, said Sudhakar Kaza, former Principal Chief General Manager, RBI

Published - September 22, 2023 09:03 pm IST - Bengaluru

Highlighting the low-penetration of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in India, experts participating on a webinar on financial inclusion suggested that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) invite more non-banking companies (also called White Label ATM Operators) to set up ATMs focusing on rural areas to expand financial inclusion

Sudhakar Kaza, former Principal Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, said there are about 2.5 to 2.6 lakh ATMs nationwide, and suggested, ``We must have at least one ATM per village to synergise digital and traditional payment transactions. RBI should invite more companies to become White Label ATM Operators to expand ATMs in the country.’

Quoting RBI statistics, Arpita Mukherjee, Professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), a New-Delhi-based think tank said, ATM deployment rate in India fell from 6% in 2021-2022 to 2% in 2022-23.

“Digital payments and cash-based payments do not operate in conflict but are complementary services,” said Kazim Rizvi, Director, The Dialogue, another think-tank, adding that “for rural and remote areas that primarily rely on cash, the proliferation of cash-in and cash-out points are extremely important”.

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