• India plans to take mobile banking powered by solar energy to remote areas of its geography
  • Solar power will charge micro ATMs that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will provide to banks in rural areas
  • NABARD aims to distribute 5,000 sets by December
  • Each set will be subsidised with around $7,450

India’s government is ready to support solar powered V-set connected micro ATMs in its rural areas. Funds for this scheme will come from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Micro ATMs are hand held devices that look like card swipe machines and provide mobile banking services to people in remote regions.

The funds will go to improve internet connectivity of bank correspondents of commercial banks and regional rural banks in Indian villages and other remote areas along with providing continuous power supply. “Many villages face power shortage and lack Internet connectivity. With the support of technology we have decided to provide solar powered V-Set connected micro ATMs, HR Dave, Deputy Managing Director of Nabard, told Indian daily Business Standard.

NABARD will subsidize 500,000 INR ($7,450) per micro ATM. Banks will have the option to rent the system or purchase the entire set. In case banks wish to rent the system, NABARD will pay the entire amount in instalments over five years, if they want to own it, they get the subsidy upfront.

NABARD has earmarked total funds of 2.5 billion INR ($37.3 million) to support 5,000 solar powered micro ATMs. “Subrata Gupta, deputy general manager of Nabard told Business Standard :”So far, we have received over 4,000 proposals for such sets from various state commercial banks and rural banks across India. Installation will soon start and by end of December 2016, wherein we are expecting to install nearly 5,000 sets.”

The interest from banks in many Indian states for the solar-powered devices is big. Most requests came from Rajasthan with 732 sets, Chattisgarh with 582 and Odisha with 514 sets.

Benefitting from this will be over 2.5 million people residing in remote areas of the country.