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Network Expansion should not be Derailed by Nationalities of Convenience

Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group

Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group
"Converting 2,50,000 Common Services Centres into Banking Business Correspondents immediately will help Rural India eMonetise"

Professing Indianness has taken media spending to a new high and journalistic ethics to a new low. There are marketing as well as editorial solutions to ‘nationality laundering’. A Chinese company of yesterday becomes an Indian company of today by simply advertising so. Uber CEO is happy to take on Indian nationality alongwith Indian Guest Editorship.

I am sure that there are far better ways to value add and contribute to India, e.g., Indian job generation. It certainly is not government’s policy that Indian ownership be a qualifier for doing any business in India. The flip side of the same argument can be disastrous for India. Indian Start-ups merely replicating the Amazon and Uber models and incurring huge losses funded by crazy valuations and crazier venture capitalists abroad seek business protection and a monopoly status for merely holding an Indian Passport.

A perception is created that Visa and MasterCard charge 2% fee on debit cards, it sinks in as big bad Americans in our national conscience. Who cares, if they charge exactly the same as RuPay. A security bogey is raised that MNC financial companies outsource critical work, while factually almost the entire Indian industry does so. And there are far more checks and balances placed in finely honed global processes. In perception, only the multinational cards get breached and the Indian ones have discovered some foolproof space-age security. 

Cyber security and IT infrastructure is a major area of concern was the refrain during the 46th Skoch Summit. Both Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, MeitY and Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) flagged these. The Summit found compelling reason in bringing international best practices to bear to strengthen both the areas and realising the Digital India dream. Indian as well as global companies need to pull together on a level-playing field to make this happen. Rai advocated Cyber Security training at the front line level as a key necessity  

Sundararajan delivered the keynote on Digital India, Digital Economy. The role of Sundararajan in setting up CSCs that are today emerging as frontline for digital services delivery in rural India was recognised. The DigiDhan Abhiyan and financial literacy initiatives recently launched by MeitY were widely appreciated.

Devender Singh, Principal Secretary – IT, Government of Haryana moved a motion that all CSCs be converted into banking Business Correspondents (BCs) immediately to ease the situation in rural areas. He expressed an intent to tie-up with Suvidhaa Infoserve, a corporate BC, who offered to immediately on-board all CSCs in Haryana. 

The most brilliant idea came from Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, who promoted the use of Digital TV for delivery of digital services and IT infrastructure to a very large Indian population that owns Digital TV connections

(Sameer Kochhar can be reached at skoch@skoch.in)

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