Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecommunications service providers and Jaipur Rugs, India’s largest rug manufacturer today announced a strategic partnership to facilitate payments to artisans via M-Pesa mobile wallets. This strategic partnership is aimed at driving financial inclusion further which will improve the lives of many artisans, most of whom are women.
Jaipur Rugs has close to 40,000+ home-based artisans spread across 600 villages. Around 80% of these artisans are women who live in disadvantaged communities of rural India. They do not have access to the basic financial services. In India, there are only 1 lakh plus bank branches. In rural areas, for every 1,000 km there are 33 branches. Penetration is only 5 per cent. Post Office network is tried and tested. It has a rural presence but there’s a cost to it and it’s not real time. It takes time for the money to reach the recipient.
The strategic partnership between Vodafone M-Pesa and Jaipur Rugs will address this latent need of the artisans and will provide them the following benefits:
· Facilitate on time payments to artisans
· Enable artisans to en-cash wages from their nearest agent through M-Pesa
· Eliminate the high risk involved in carrying cash by Jaipur Rug staff
· Help to scale up the business by leveraging its foothold in difficult-to-access rural markets and overcoming other operational challenges faced by this industry.
Amit Bedi, Business Head, Rajasthan Circle – Vodafone India said “We see a natural synergy between Vodafone M-Pesa and Jaipur Rugs to offer financial services to the unbanked and the underbank community of India. We are delighted to partner with Jaipur Rugs to facilitate payments using M-Pesa`s safe, secure, and cashless transaction capability. From process automation to instant and secure transaction, we are confident M-Pesa will bring transformational benefits to Jaipur Rugs and further drive financial inclusion by empowering the rural community with extensive and transparent financial capabilities.”
Nand Kishore Chaudhary, Founder, Jaipur Rugs said, “We are very elated to join forces with Vodafone for this first of its kind initiative for weaving community of rural India. This will not only mitigate the cash transaction risk but also save many of our resources. It will also encourage our weavers to develop a habit of saving. I am very happy to have Vodafone on-board in our journey of transforming lives in the grassroots’ community.”
Vodafone India provides customers with a new currency in the form of M-Pesa, the world renowned mobile wallet and money transfer service. Vodafone M-Pesa is an innovative, safe and secure mobile wallet enables complete suite of services like money transfer, bill payments, and recharge on the move from the mobile. It caters to all segments of the society, from the unbanked to the under banked and to the net-savvy and evolved customers. Today, with a pan-India distribution of over 90,000 agents and more than 3 million customers, Vodafone M-Pesa is the largest banking correspondent in the country and is playing a vital role in enabling financial inclusion and m-commerce. Over 50% Vodafone base is rural and Vodafone already has a strong distribution and mobile penetration and the ability to provide banking services on mobile.
In Rajasthan, Vodafone M-Pesa was launched in July 2013. In a very short span, the service has reached out to 195 tehsils in 34 districts through a network of 7000 authorized agents and 255 Vodafone exclusive stores, in Rajasthan, including Jaipur.