ECONOMISTS SEE A NEW ROLE FOR MICRO-FINANCE
- Micro-finance practitioners and financial experts participating in the colloquium threw new light on micro-credit, SHGs and marketing of products and services as crucial factors for chartering the course from micro-finance to livelihood promotion for lakhs of poor households across the country. Experts made important suggestions for expanding the SHG movement from savings and credit operations to creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities through some ground-breaking initiatives.
- The two-day colloquium was organised jointly by Jaipur-based Centre for Micro Finance (CMF) in collaboration with Rajasthan Gramin Ajeevika Vikas Parishad. Eminent economist and Rajasthan State Planning Board Deputy Chairman V. S. Vyas, who inaugurated the event, said the nationalisation of banks in 1969 had prompted them to address the needs of the rural poor and created an atmosphere leading to inclusive banking. Describing credit as a potent instrument for development and poverty alleviation, he emphasised the need to “graduate from micro-finance to livelihoods”. Any scaling up of ■,,IFI/SHG would require ‘governance at door’ concept and that is basically m-governance.
- Arore channels, encompassing
v _LV idifferent mobile technologies, are to be made operational soon for delivering various government services through the Mobile Services Delivery Gateway (MSDG), with the Framework for Mobile Governance prepared by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) having been notified earlier this year.
v The gateway started working in July 2011; now it is used for the delivery of 40 SMS-based services of 30 Central and State government departments and agencies. “At present, SMS services are being offered for a number of activities, such as tracking of the status of applications, sending alerts for transactions and for delivery of services, grievance registration and redress,” said Rajendra Kumar, Director (Projects), National e-Governance Division, DEIT.
v Other services, based on such technologies’ as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), are to be made operational in the coming months. USSD can be used for providing interactive value-added services, while IVR can be used for automated voice-based services. GPRS facilitates data . and forms-based services. The Government intends to make them operational by the end of 2012-13. The creation of the gateway is a core element in the Framework, which states that various channels, such as voice, text (SMS), GPRS, USSD, SIM Toolkit (STK), Cell Broadcast (CBC), location-based services and multimedia (MMS) will be used to provide mobile users with different services.
v Government is also developing a Mobile Applications Store where the mobile-based applications for public services shall be hosted for download by the users. Since it is difficult for the State governments to leverage the resources to create local service delivery platforms, the setting up of the MSDG is a good initiative.
v The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has nearly completed the technology, platform development but the pace of implementation has to be augmented. The framework states that the m-apps store will be integrated with the MSDG. The open platform will be developed and deployed in conjunction with the MSDG for making the additional value-added services available to the users, irrespective of the device or network operator used by them.
v The MSDG will have Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for the creation of value-added services by different providers, besides mechanisms, including an Aadhaar-based one, for authentication of the users of various services. It will be equipped with an integrated mobile payment gateway.
v The m-Governnace apps can be downloaded by the user as the other apps are downloadable.