MicroSave Policy Brief #9 describes the true reach and quality of India’s BC networks, the design features of successful agent networks, and the policy and regulatory interventions that could help catalyse the roll-out of denser, higher-quality agent networks in poor communities across India. The Brief details the impressive growth in the number of agents but highlights that a very high proportion of them are dormant or simply unable to make transactions for want of liquidity or hardware. The Brief highlights the reasons for the high levels of dormancy amongst agents and the danger that it is irreparably damaging trust in the agent-based system. This clearly has significant importance for both the Aadhaar-enabled direct benefit transfer programme and the financial inclusion agendas of the Government of India. It further underlines the need for immediate remedial action by policy/regulatory actors, as well as commercial players, to make a concerted push to resolve the remaining barriers – before the complete break-down in the agent system, and the loss of the trust of India’s masses, become a lasting impediment.

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