Nachiket Mor, chairman of the RBI committee on financial inclusion, believes it does not require major regulatory changes to implement his ideas. At a press briefing, explaining the recommendations of the committee, Mor said that specialised banks would serve well than each one providing every financial service. Excerpts:
Many experts believe the deadline of January 2016 is ambitious. Do you agree?
The target is, in some ways, based on our perception of Aadhaar. The big task of opening a bank account is verifying the customer, documents and so on. This is already being done by Aadhaar. The bank need not repeat it. But if you believe Aadhaar will not get done by 2015, then we could talk about extension. We have consulted with the UIADAI and the process looks quite good and on track.
At a time when there is already a process to give out fresh licences, do you think it was prudent to give out these recommendations?
The RBI has already put out an approach on differentiated licences, so it is not a new idea. We have a governor who is interested in moving fast. Please do not read too much into dates. We had been told, do not take too much time. We want fresh thinking, and that was his one-line mandate to us.
What is the timeframe for the new category of banks that you propose and what changes the RBI will have to bring about?
There is not a lot of regulation change required; there is more of a decision needed. I can’t say how much time it would take, I hope it would be soon. It is an internal process of the RBI. My sense is what we have put out is a minor extension of what they already have in place.
The kind of charges that banks have is prohibitive for customers. Do you think your vision of universal bank account be met?
The opening of the account itself is a database entry, like opening and e-mail account. A lot of the work is checking the documents, for which the cost is already borne by Aadhaar. We are saying that banks should be left to charge. A customer is actually ready to spend. You just make the service available, market forces will figure the rest out.
Does the panel feel existing banks must become payment banks or new players must come in?
Payments banks will not have priority sector mandates;