Thursday, December 29, 2016

After Demonetisation,Digital Deluge, Banks still not optimised 12-29

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Image credit : Shyam's Imagination Library

Government's decision to create an Aadhaar based payment platform is a welcome development.

But how far are the banks prepared to support this move technically and technologically??

SBI has announced that it has set up 3,00,000 terminals initially to meet the demand. ICICI Bank has also saod that it is ready with the infrastructure. Two or three more banks may also have the preparedness to take up the challenge, but what about the rest, specially the nationalised banks?

These banks have outdated software which are not only slow in action, they gobble up a heavy amount of bandwidth. They do not have capacity to take the load of this sudden surge in transactions.
Everyone is talking of digitalisation. For politicians it is a trend or fashion to use the word digital. It makes them appear "In Vogue" Indian politicians think they will be considered outdated, if they don't include the word digitisation in their narratives.

Everyone feels, that they can get digital overnight. They feel that digitalization is a product available in the market, they can buy like readymade apparel.

They feel that, by just buying few machines or creating few debit cards, they can transform the manual banking to digital banking.

Going digital is always a good idea. A hugely welcome idea.


I think, they are starting the digitalisation from the wrong end. They are starting it from the consumer end,actually it should start from the service provider end virtual Infrastructure needs to be put in place networking done Cloud storage facility built, and then as per the capacity the digitisation should be planned.

Before we proceed further, let us get some cold facts.

Percentage of Internet users

Only 24% of the population has access to Internet connectivity. What is the point in introducing digitisation when 76% of the population cannot take advantage of it. If the government was really serious about digitisation, it would have spent the two and half years in building internet corridors in the rural parts of India.

Internet Speeds

According to the 2015 report of Wikipedia, India stands second in the number of Internet users behind China. However, it ranks 105th in the world in terms of Average Internet connection speed, and 106th in terms of peak internet connection speed.

Download Speeds

The country is 96th in terms of download speed and 105th in terms of average bandwidth availability. It also has a record of poor internet security , which is progressively becoming worse.
While in download speed India is behind even Bangladesh and Nepal, it tops the world in terms of 'ransomware' attacks. These assaults target banks and establishments with sensitive, confidential information.


In terms of availability of bandwidth, Sri Lanka, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and several other countries are far ahead. Acquiring extra Bandwidth involves certain processes and protocols. Considering the outdated software most of the nationalised banks are using, huge quantum of bandwith will be gobbled up in the transactions.

Cyber Security

Cyber experts welcome the digitisation of transactions, but lament the deplorable condition of IT infrastructure and education.

As more and more people do online banking transactions, sensitive data like credit card details, shipping address, etc., are open to hacking. Yes, India is an attractive country for hackers, it is difficult to even fathom how much harm online hacking can cause to sensitive data on government and corporate websites.

Users and experts alike are worried about growing cybercrime, with almost zero conviction. Cyber experts say the public in India are wary of cyber transaction for fear of falling victim to hacking attacks that steal personal data and in the face of which banks and the police more often than not plead helplessness.

Experts say the government should simultaneously give a thrust to expanding support infrastructure and vigilance to ensure safer online monetary transactions. When it comes to cybercrime, India is 6th in the world. The incidence of cybercrime in the country has doubled in just a year.
India leads in the Ransomware attacks in 2016.

What is Ransomware??

Ransomware is a remote human attack on your system through deceit. I escaped it very narrowly after almost being a victim to it. In Ransomware attack, you get a call from a person, who identifies himself as an executive of the organisation whose OS you are using, gives you some advice on how to protect your system and advices you to not part with passwords to any one on phone, takes leave and ends the call. This is a harmless call so you are not worried. He calls back after a couple of days and warns about an impending attack and tells you how to protect your system from it. He makes you log into the system and instructs you step by step, on how to protect your system. You follow the instructions and do as told to protect your system. Actually you have not protected your system, you have locked it. Your system cannot be unlocked by anyone. After a couple of days, you get a call from another person, who says, he can unlock the system and asks for Ransom of a specific amount and gives details of a bank account and asks the person to make an online transfer. If you pay the amount, your system is unlocked in the same way it is locked. You cannot complain to police, because they are not located in your country. There are many safe heavens from where they operate. Next time you get a call from someone like this , be careful, don't follow the instructions.
When it comes to banks, Hospitals or other institutions which have heavy amounts of Data stored, these people hack the sites and steal data through online hacks. They demand hefty amounts as ransom to restore the data.

The government intention to digitise Bank Transaction is a laudable move. But a lot needs to be done for the digitisation to work

Digitalisation doesn't happen overnight. you need to place the virtual infrastructure in place, and should be supported by Artificial Intelligence of high caliber.

These include upgrading the software, upgrading the human skills to make them technology compliant, and acquiring additional bandwidth to meet the increased load
Buying additional cloud storage facility to store more data generated on account increased digital transactions.

Hiring additional data professionals to handle additional and increased data flow.
Hiring programmers and I.T. professionals.

Putting in place a robust supply chain for the seamless flow.

All these take time and it could be years before we can achieve all that we intend to achieve. Even an advanced country like USA took about ten years to reach a level of 50% digitalisation.
The present ground reality in India is that the bank websites are already showing signs of the stress.

We are already getting messages like

"Transaction not completed due to overload" or

"Transaction to this payee bank branch not possible."

or error message which reads "Something went wrong, your transaction cannot be completed"
It is worse with the public sector banks. And these are the banks which have maximum accounts and significant rural presence.

Private Banks have excellent digital infrastructure, but their reach is limited and comparatively they have very small number of accounts when compared to public sector banks.

The government should have first ensured that the digital infrastructure was in place and then gone for Demonetisation with more a viable alternative to the cash crunch..

Finally I would like to state that Digitisation is too intricate a subject to be covered by me alone, that too in one article. I have begun the effort, now I expect my friends in Data, and Digitisation to contribute to make this article more relevant nd complete.

Please liberally contribute in quality and content to this article through your comments on this blog or on any social media platform, where I promote it.

Best Wishes,


Source of data : Economic Times, Wikipedia, Kaspersky.

List of countries with population, percentage of people using internet and the global rank

Country or areaInternet
 United States239,882,242374.55%40
 United Kingdom59,538,5451092.00%27
 South Korea45,213,8021489.90%22
 South Africa28,291,4192451.92%90
 Saudi Arabia21,958,4073069.62%66
 Taiwan18,639,7733680.00% year 201329
 Czech Republic8,571,6104981.30%37
 United Arab Emirates8,354,8135091.24%17
 Sri Lanka6,212,4316329.99%141
 Hong Kong6,191,1426484.95%36
 Dominican Republic5,467,3936851.93%97
 Ivory Coast4,767,3277621.00%194
 New Zealand3,995,0668388.22%25
 Democratic Republic of the Congo2,936,139943.80%197
 Puerto Rico2,927,0699579.47%39
 Costa Rica2,873,1719659.76%96
 Palestinian Authority2,680,6339957.42%92
 Bosnia and Herzegovina2,479,43710265.07%43
 South Sudan2,212,52810417.93%11
 Burkina Faso2,062,22410711.39%190
 El Salvador1,649,27611626.92%138
 Trinidad and Tobago941,18113169.20%61
 Papua New Guinea601,9261397.90%177
 Republic of the Congo352,0691527.62%176
 The Gambia340,84615417.12%160
 The Bahamas302,65415878.00%44
 Cabo Verde223,92016343.02%118
 Central African Republic223,4521644.56%192
 New Caledonia194,70716774.00%55
 French Polynesia182,55216964.56%75
 Equatorial Guinea180,16617021.32%151
 Sierra Leone161,3301712.50%200
 Timor Leste158,75817213.40%206
 Saint Lucia96,84717652.35%124
 Antigua and Barbuda59,86518165.20%62
 Solomon Islands58,35918410.00%175
 U.S. Virgin Islands58,27918554.83%128
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines56,66818751.77%83
 São Tomé and Príncipe49,14719025.82%139
 Cayman Islands46,17419477.00%38
 Faroe Islands45,40319594.20%12
 Saint Kitts and Nevis42,06819675.70%29
 Jersey38,958-41.03% year 2012-
 Micronesia, Federated States of32,90520031.50%133
 Gibraltar18,878-65.02% year 2012-
 San Marino16,48420154.21% year 2009.86
 British Virgin Islands14,45620337.60% year 201298
 Marshall Islands10,21720419.28%165
 Anguilla10,20920564.80% year 201359
 Saint Helena2,906-37.6% year 2012-
 Falkland Islands2,842-96.9% year 2013-
 Montserrat2,83320754.60% year 201378
 Wallis and Futuna1,383-8.95% year 2012-
 Niue1,03420886.90% year 201318
 Ascension361-41.0% year 2012-

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