In the wake of Covid-19, Sarvatra Technologies' versatile PaaS (Platform as a Service) solution has been instrumental in driving uninterrupted banking across the country, especially in rural India. Sarvatra is solely responsible for ensuring uninterrupted services such as cash withdrawals, cash deposits, funds transfer, etc. across various payments platforms for 600+ banks—right from the smallest co-operative banks to SCBs and DCCBs spread across 30 states and UTs across the country during the pandemic lockdown. This also includes large banks like ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, besides new generation small finance banks like Equitas, Jana, and Capital.
Rural India has been ailing with lack of sufficient banking infrastructure, along with a scarcity in ATMs and POS machines. Prior to Sarvatra, possessing their own world-class Data Centre and payments infrastructure was difficult for small co-operative banks due to the huge capex involved in owning and managing the same. However, with its PaaS model, Sarvatra is providing plug-and-play access to the latest payments platforms (Debit Card, ATM, POS, E-Com, AePS, BBPS, IMPS, UPI, etc.) and digital payment services and apps to all types of banks in India, including to the smallest rural banks, which couldn't have afforded them otherwise. By enabling every aspect of digitization, these small banks have become interoperable in the Indian financial ecosystem, which drives the agenda of financial inclusion further. Sarvatra has therefore played a critical role in bridging the digital gap between urban and rural areas by empowering small rural banks to offer the same services as a large bank.
In the present context, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is causing widespread concern and economic hardships for consumers, businesses, and communities across the globe. The situation is changing quickly with widespread impacts and the Indian banking system has been no exception. With major banks considering shutting down most of their branches across the country, seamless banking in a cash-dominant country like India was a huge concern. However, banking in the rural areas where Sarvatra provides its PaaS services has remained unaffected in the midst of the lockdown. With the help of Sarvatra, the rural banking industry has been able to overcome several logistical challenges that could have impeded seamless financial services during this crisis. Thus, Sarvatra's digital payment services have significantly helped in alleviating the hardships of the underbanked population in the country, while ensuring that the customers adhere to the necessity of social distancing during this pandemic, while transacting from the comfort of their homes.
Equipped with Micro ATMs and mobile ATM Vans, co-operative banks that are Sarvatra's clients are providing doorstep service—reaching out to the villages and small towns in interiors of India across all topographical regions, including highlands and mountains, West to North-East, North to South—providing India's rural population with much-needed cash and other banking services. These doorstep services include cash withdrawal and deposit, funds transfer, etc. in small villages and towns where ATMs and regular banking infrastructure are not available or are inaccessible due to the lockdown. All these services are being provided while maintaining social distancing, sanitization of devices and hands of users for every transaction.
Furthermore, Sarvatra continues to dedicatedly fulfil its national duty by giving millions of citizens access to government beneficiary aid worth 1.7 lakh crore, credited in their bank accounts through their AePS platform, which has witnessed an exponential rise of 353% in cash withdrawals. Moreover, Sarvatra's wide range of offerings has also enabled other financial institutions such as BCs (business correspondents) to successfully extend money transfer and cash disbursal services.
Vallabh Bhanshali, Chairman, Sarvatra Technologies said, "It is a vindication of our faith and desire that it is possible to provide India's rural folks and banks the same level of digital services at affordable cost as the city dwellers. We at Sarvatra feel aligned to the COVID-19 frontline warriors by providing critical services to our people in the moment of their dire need through Sarvatra's bouquet of services and robust integrated and highly interoperable platform. Our aim is to drive top technologies to the bottom of the pyramid and help financial inclusion of the remotest person."
Mandar Agashe, Founder and Managing Director, Sarvatra Technologies said, "The most critical long-term lesson learnt by the Indian banking industry during the sudden disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is that banks across the country need to have a future-ready plan in place to address contingencies. Luckily, most of our customer banks had a host of digital payments options available, which helped them in overcoming the unusual hurdles posed by the pandemic. In the 30 days of lockdown, in addition to transactions conducted at regular ATM machines, hundreds of mobile ATM Vans and thousands of Micro ATMs of our banks have provided doorstep banking services across India to 15 lakh unique customers, including senior citizens."