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Airtel Money Goes Rural With SREI Sahaj’s Common Service Centers

Sahaj eVillage Limited, the common service center initiative from Srei, has inked a deal with Airtel Money, Bharti Airtel's mobile money offering, to provide banking facilities via common service centers, in three districts of Uttar Pradesh - Varanai, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur. Sahaj will offer potential customers an 'Airtel Money Super Account', which is powered by Axis Bank, and allows banking transactions including cash deposit, money transfer and cash withdrawal. The no-frills account gives an interest of 4%. More importantly, though, the Airtel Money linkage will allow remittance from one Airtel Money wallet to another, and the transfer of money from the bank account. Non-airtel customers can receive money on their mobiles and get it converted into cash through an existing Airtel Money Axis Bank customer service point in the state, or through one of these Sahaj Jan Seva Kendras, operated by Sahaj eVillage. This appears to be Airtel's first deal with a common service center, which are essentially Internet backed outlets which have been set up to provide government services to villages, in a public-private-partnership model. They also form an important rural distribution network, which can be leveraged by private players. What's also noteworthy is that Sahaj claims to have over 550 business correspondents in Uttar Pradesh, in partnership with various banks, and thus, Airtel Money isn't its only rural banking partner. The ability to transfer money from the phone, however, will be a differentiator for Airtel. Sahaj says it is set to launch over 28,000 Common Service Centres (CSC) across 107 districts in…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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