New Delhi, February 12, 2007: Bharti Airtel has joined hands with The GSM Association to launch a pilot programme that will eventually enable over 25 million Indians abroad to remit money to India through their mobile phones. In this initiative for India, Bharti Airtel and State Bank of India have created an innovative public/private partnership to serve Indians at home and abroad.
"We believe that this coming together of the mobile and banking industry is a giant leap in mobile commerce," added Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises; Board Member of the GSM Association, and the board sponsor of this programme. "It will revolutionise the money transfer industry with its advantages, such as reach, ease of use, and lower transaction costs and provide immense benefits to 25 million of Indians across the world and their families in India."
India is the biggest recipient of overseas remittances in the world at $25bn, accounting for around 10% of the world market. The remittances market is growing by 20% in India every year. This programme will enable global Indians to easily and securely send remittances to their dependents, many of whom don’t have bank accounts. Intent is to enable individuals access to the benefits of a full range of financial services regardless of socio economic level or geographical location using the ubiquity and ease of mobile communications. The programme will complement existing local remittances channels and make transferring money internationally significantly more affordable.
Mr. O. P. Bhatt, Chairman, State Bank of India, India’s largest bank, added: "We are happy to partner with the GSM Association in this landmark project. We piloted a project in a small Himalayan village of Pithoragarh in India with Airtel and have seen the tremendous results in this unbanked village. This project has the potential of transforming the lives and economies across the globe"