Cheque clearance system to be totally automated by Sept

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 15 2011, 14:11pm hrs
Addressing the demand from banks for complete automation of the cheque clearing exercise including automation of non-MICR clearing houses, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to implement a new express cheque clearing system (ECCS).

The package has been developed through an outside vendor, Image InfoSystems, and is now ready for deployment.

The roll-out of the ECCS will be completed within a six-month time-frame between April and September.

The new initiative is expected to go a long way in modernising and refining the cheque clearing activities in the country, apart from ensuring a smoother and interoperable payment system. The RBI will be closely monitoring the project and will intervene at any stage to keep the implementation schedule on track, the central bank said in a statement.

Cheques continue to play a dominant role in Indias payment system landscape, more so in terms of volumes handled. Currently, apart from the 66 MICR locations (handling around 85% of the total cheque volume and value) for mechanised processing and settlement of cheques, there are around 1,093 non-MICR centres that use a software package for automating the clearing and settlement process.

The ownership of the new application to be jointly vested with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and SBI.

They would also enter into a tripartite agreement with the vendor to implement, monitor and evaluate the service legal agreement (SLA) and support committed to by the vendor.

NPCI, as the umbrella organisation for retail payments in the country, will be responsible for rolling out the service in all clearing locations, except in clearing locations managed by SBI and its associate banks.

NPCI will also be the the single point of contact for banks and the vendor, as also for change control, future updates, support issues, reporting to the RBI, etc. It will coordinate with the national clearing cells at the regional offices of the RBI for ensuring a smooth roll-out.

The speed clearing facility is to be operationalised and enabled right from day one of implementation of the package.

NPCI slashes mobile phone banking charges

NPCI aims to bring 5 crore bank customers under the fold of inter-bank mobile payment service (IMPS) by March, 2012. AP Hota, MD and CEO of NPCI, said, So far, the company has been able to issue 66 lakh mobile money identifier (MMID), account number through which one can do transaction through mobiles. NPCI has also reduced the switching fee for mobile money transfers using IMPS to 10 paise from 25 paise from April 1.