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Biometric card for rural banking in Tripura
Published on 5 Jan. 2010 11:04 PM IST
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As part of a rural banking initiative launched by Tripura State Cooperative Bank (TSCB) to connect banks to their rural customer base, biometric cards are being used in five villages of North Tripura instead of ATMs, stated a UNI report. After successful implementation of similar projects initiated by State Bank of India in 2006 in three states - Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh - over 2000 workers of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in Tripura are using biometric smart cards to avail banking facilities. Incidentally, it took 12 years for ATMs to reach Tripura, after being launched in India in 1987. Thanks to one such biometric card, Agartala-based Ujjyanta Technology can become the customer service provider as well as mobile bank using a small machine which serves as the link between the bank and consumers in selected villages of Dharmanagar. A Gurgoan-based private enterprise is providing the technological know-how for the project and Dharmanagar alone has already registered about 2000 customers. According to report, several hundreds of transactions have already been made. TSCB General Manager Amit Bhattacharjee said the project is a spin-off of RBI’s Financial Inclusion project. Under this, RBI has asked banks to reach out to people who have not yet benefited, primarily in the areas where it was difficult to maintain branches and ATMs. ‘’The Northeast makes for good starting points as bank penetration is extremely low and with this system we save substantially on transportation costs, setting up ATMs and maintaining them,’’ Mr Bhattacharjee said, adding besides providing conventional ATM dispensers, TSPCB will extend biometric card service for all rural bases, if found suitable and customer friendly.

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