New Delhi: After a delay of several months, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) will be launched on Saturday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. There will also be simultaneous launch events across 650 branches and 3,250 access points that will go live from Saturday.

With an aim to bridge the last-mile gap in banking services, IPPB will deploy around 300,000 postmen and gramin dak sewaks carrying mobile phones and biometric devices to offer doorstep banking to customers, mainly in rural areas. By December, all 155,000 post offices in the country are likely to be linked to the IPPB system. This will also step up the number of rural bank branches in India significantly.

“For the launch, more than 800,000 man hours have gone into training 15,000 people, out of which 11,000 will be providing banking services at the doorstep. By the end of the year, all 300,000 people will be up and running," IPPB Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Suresh Sethi said in an interview.

IPPB has been incorporated as a public sector company under the Department of Posts with 100% government equity and is governed by the Reserve Bank of India.

IPPB will offer a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfer, bill and utility payments and enterprise and merchant payments. Customers will be able to access these products and related services across various channels — counter services, micro-ATM, mobile banking app, text messages and phone calls.

The bank will offer quick response (QR) cards to customers as an additional service, along with mobile banking, phone banking and SMS banking. The QR card will have the customer’s account number embedded and the customer does not have to remember his/her account number to access the account, according to Sethi.

IPPB has also partnered with different financial organisations to provide loans, investments and insurance products.

On Wednesday, the government decided to raise the outlay for bank by about 80% to 1,435 crore from the current 800 crore. The increase is meant to cover costs relating to technology and manpower, according to a government statement.

The bank was earlier scheduled to be launched on 21 August ,which had to be rescheduled in the wake of seven-day national mourning to pay homage to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

A payments bank is a differentiated bank providing a limited range of products, such as acceptance of demand deposits and remittance of funds. It can accept deposits up to 1 lakh per customer. However, these banks cannot issue loans and credit cards. Other payments banks that have started operations are Airtel Payments Bank Ltd, Paytm Payments Bank Ltd and Fino Payments Bank Ltd.

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