Mumbai: Ever since its launch in 2010, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a not-for-profit public-private partnership, has been trying to re-skill young people with the help of training partners from key industrial sectors such as retail, manufacturing and automobiles in order to make them more employable. It successfully trained 1 million youths aged between 16 and 25 years last year and aims to take the number up to 3.3 million by the end of 2014.

In return for training the youths, the training partners take a nominal fee—paid for by trainees from a reward amount they earn from NSDC for completing the training under the Standard Training Assessment & Reward (STAR) scheme, in partnership with the Bank of India.

However, problems arose when training partners complained they had not received payments on time—and sometimes not at all. With the incentive to train drying up, NSDC had to quickly find a solution.

The solution came in the form of a multi-wallet prepaid payment solution—India’s first— run by TranServ Pvt Ltd, a three-year-old electronic prepaid payments company in association with the Bank of India. This not only ensured that NSDC’s training partners got paid on time, but also helped the youths take charge of their own finances.

The multi-wallet solution for NSDC was launched by TransServ’s chief operating officer Aditya Gupta and his team: co-founders Anish Williams who is also chief executive officer; Sandeep Ghule, chief marketing officer; Amar Habibullah, business head for Lucknow region; and Anand Kapadia who heads sales and distribution.

The platform, which falls under the firm’s Shmart! flagship brand, was developed in-house by TranServ and was already being used by corporate clients. It was customized within 15-20 days for NSDC and launched on 5 February by then finance minister P. Chidambaram.

Under the multi-wallet solution, TranServ opens two wallets for trainees: one for payment to the training partners, which is not accessible to the trainee, and the other a general savings wallet. The fee for the training partners is automatically deducted from the token sum that the youths are paid every month.

The second wallet is linked to the Bank of India account, and gives the trainee a debit card which can be used at ATMs and points of sale, and also allows them account holder privileges so they can check the balance on phone, enquire about the last few transactions, report loss of card, ask for a statement or new ATM PIN, etc. Alternatively, card holders can check the balance from usage alerts that are sent to their mobile phones after each transaction. The card is issued for two years with the option to have it renewed. Bank of India pays TranServ a fee for this service.

Since March, when the multi-wallet solution was implemented, five lakh students have been enrolled for this solution by NSDC across 26 states. Further, 6,500 business correspondents have been facilitating this programme, with 3,000 applications received per day, making it the largest multi-wallet project in the country. Through this solution, TranServ has helped its 300 training partners recover 200 crore from the total amount of 400 crore due to them, which they are expected to receive by year-end.

To ensure security and compliance with the process, TranServ’s multi-wallet solution has been reviewed by four banks: Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra, Ratnakar Bank Ltd and Axis Bank. Besides Bank of India, VISA is also TranServ’s partner for the solution.

The so-called ‘benefit disbursement programme’ was chosen as a finalist in Emerging Payments Awards, UK, under the category of the best global government prepaid programme. The award was created in 2008 to recognize significant and commercial achievements in the prepaid sector.

TranServ was also awarded the Aadhaar Governance Award instituted by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in 2012 for its work in large scale financial inclusion and direct benefits transfer (DBT) programmes, enabling real-time transactions through VISA and RuPay, which could also be authenticated by Aadhaar.

According to a Reserve Bank of India report in April, only 10-15% of the 369 million debit and credit cards in the company are used for online transactions. TranServ’s Aditya Gupta believes such multi-wallet solutions could help greatly in increasing the awareness and ease of use of online transactions.

Besides, this solution also helps in the government’s plans for financial inclusion by empowering millions of youths to take charge of their own finances, with their own bank accounts, said Gupta.

NSDC hopes to re-skill 500 million youths by 2022. Gupta feels confident that TranServ, with the help of its multi-wallet solution, will be a key finance enabler towards this end, as it prepares for the second phase of the NSDC re-skilling programme due to start shortly.

Mint has a strategic partnership with Digital Empowerment Foundation, which hosts the Manthan Award.

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