By Raidarmax (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Raidarmax (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Telecom operator Vodafone has partnered with Government of Madhya Pradesh to facilitate mobile-based distribution of financial aid to mothers under the Janani Suraksha Yojana scheme, a part of the National Rural Health Mission. The initiative, which will use M-Pesa as the platform to transfer money, has been running in the pilot stages in Vidisha city since May 2015.

Beneficiaries of these schemes can choose to directly receive payment of the subsidy to any active mobile number. Once the payment is transferred, beneficiaries are notified through an SMS, with details regarding withdrawal code, amount of subsidy and withdrawal procedure. Users can then withdraw the amount by authorizing the transaction using the withdrawal code at any Vodafone M-Pesa retail outlet.

Walmart tie up: Earlier this month, M-Pesa entered into a cash management deal with Walmart India, enabling the business members of six Best Price Modern Wholesale stores (owned and operated by Walmart India) to make mobile payments. Under the deal, Walmart’s Best Price store members could place an order with the company, after which an M-Pesa authorized agent would reach out to them to load cash into their M-Pesa account. This would allow the members to make payments from their phones for the goods ordered from Walmart’s Best Price Cash & Carry store.

M-Pesa Bharat BPO tie-up: In September last year, Vodafone India had signed a strategic partnership with Bharat BPO, a Spice Digital group company to integrate M-Pesa as one of the payment options for Bharat BPO’s SMS railway ticket booking service. Following this partnership, Vodafone M-Pesa customers could send in their booking details either via SMS or through the 139 Railways Reservation app on Android or Java and enter their ‘M-PIN’ to authorize the transaction.

M-pesa transactions and users: For the quarter ended December 31, 2014, M-pesa reported 78,000 transactions per day.  The company reported a decline in total number of active customers, down 8.9% quarter on quarter to 0.337 million, from  0.37 million users in the previous quarter. As much as 86.5% of its registered M-Pesa base is inactive. Vodafone claims that it has a pan-India distribution of over 90,000 agents and more than 3 million customers.

Payments bank licence: Vodafone has applied for a Payments Bank license with the Reserve Bank of India, along with 40 other companies, including telecom competitors like Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Industries. The Reserve Bank of India had also renewed Vodafone’s PPI license in November.