Aims to digitize transactions worth approx. 1000 crore across SHG ecosystem
- Program initiated by the State Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) with the objective of – One Gram Panchayat One BC Sakhi
- PayNearby received mandate of 9 districts – Badaun, Sitapur, Etah, Ballia, Ghazipur, Behraich, Balrampur, Gonda and Azamgarh
PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital payments network, announced that it will onboard 10,000 Women BC Sakhis from Self Help Groups to offer banking services to various Gram Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh. The company thus aims to digitize transactions worth ₹1000 crores through the Self Help Group (SHG) ecosystem across Uttar Pradesh, while enabling BC Sakhis to earn additional revenue. The company has entered into a partnership with YES Bank to onboard BC Sakhis across 9 districts in the state.
The business processes and transactions that happen through SHGs are mostly cash-based. As of March 2019, an estimated ₹1,00,000 crores have been transacted within the SHG ecosystem, the bulk of it being in cash. With cash in short supply and digital payments on the rise, there is an urgent need to redesign the processes and transit from a predominantly cash transaction to a digital transaction. To aid this, as part of the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM) program, the Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) has decided to appoint one Business Correspondent (BC) – Sakhi (BC-Sakhi) from the members of the SHGs in each of its 58,000 Gram Panchayats. In line with this directive, PayNearby has been allotted the mandate of 9 districts across Uttar Pradesh, viz. Badaun, Sitapur, Etah, Ballia, Ghazipur, Behraich, Balrampur, Gonda and Azamgarh.
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Business Correspondents have played a pivotal role in financial inclusion, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic as they acted as Direct Benefit Transfer collection points and ensured offering uninterrupted banking services to citizens across the country. As banking agents, these women are playing a crucial role in acquainting people with banking services. The project is thus aimed at improving banking access in rural UP and enhancing the household income of these women and empowering them. Post the onboarding, PayNearby will work on upskilling BC Sakhis on the usage of the digital ecosystem while also providing them digital solutions to further the cause of financial inclusion across the state and bring many to the formal banking fold.
Commenting on the development, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO said, “Our country is going through a digital revolution and it is therefore important that we empower our women to lead this change. It is important our women have access to digital and financial tools that give them better control over their earnings and savings. While the Business Correspondent model ensures low-cost delivery of accessible banking services to every section of the society, the SHG platform has proven to be pivotal in this task, owing to its comprehensive reach and influence at the community level.
The UPSRLM program is an excellent initiative by the government of Uttar Pradesh and PayNearby is extremely honoured to be a facilitator of this program and drive empowerment. With the SHG members having the basic financial literacy and the experience of handling money, they are best suited for the role. They can play a significant part in handholding and getting the community members oriented to digital transactions while driving financial inclusion across the remotest villages and towns in the state.”
PayNearby represents the country’s largest retail merchant network today with more than 15 Crore customers. The company has played a significant role in driving digital financial services within the interiors of the country across 17,500+ PIN codes. It has bolstered easy, low-ticket transactions and created an all-inclusive acceptance framework for a less-cash India.