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Fintech firms turn vaccine evangelists in rural areas

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on June 12, 2021

To break the vaccine hesitancy, payment and fintech companies are spreading awareness in rural areas and helping people to get registered on the CoWIN platform   -  greenaperture

To break the vaccine hesitancy, a number of fintech companies have begun spreading awareness in villages

There is a growing rural- urban divide in vaccination against Covid-19, with reports estimating that only 12-15 per cent of rural dwellers have got at least one dose of the vaccine, while nearly 30 per cent of urban residents have received the jab.

The lack of smartphones, illiteracy and inadequate knowledge of English are common barriers in rural areas for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, apart from concerns over possible side effects.

Timely interventions

To break the vaccine hesitancy, a number of payment and fintech companies have begun intervening in rural areas, spreading awareness and helping people get registered on the CoWIN platform.

Take Pay Nearby which has managed to get lakhs of people registered. “We have leveraged our over 15 lakh PayNearby retail touchpoints to create community awareness around the program and assist citizens to overcome tech and language barriers,” said Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, PayNearby. He said owing to this drive, 2,62,303 retailers across the country have helped register more than 15,85,490 citizens.

Similarly, rural focussed fintech Spice Money too has been enabling customers to register for Covid-19 vaccination.“Spice Money adhikaris or entrepreneurs are helping to build awareness on the need to get vaccinated and get customers registered on the CoWIN platform. We have enabled a feature on our platform where using our app, the merchant partner can fill in details of the customer on the CoWIN platform and help them get appointments,” said Dilip Modi, founder, Spice Money.

According to him there have been over 1 lakh clicks on the CoWIN icon and he believes a lot of it will translate into bookings and vaccinations. The company hopes to do more in the space by tracking how many customers have got bookings, and have taken the first and second doses as well as any areas with a shortage of vaccine.

“We hope to collate and publish the data to help the government if possible,” Modi said.

Noida based FinTech startup BANKIT, through its DigiMitra outlets, is also assisting the rural populace in registering for vaccination and hopes to handhold over 22 lakh citizens across the country.

Offering Incentives

Payments firm Eko India has worked out another approach to boost vaccination in rural areas.

“We have earmarked ₹1 crore to be given to our entrepreneurs who get themselves vaccinated. We are loudly encouraging our entire network to get vaccinated as soon as possible. When they share their vaccination certificate, we are giving them an incentive from our side,” said Abhinav Sinha, co-founder, Eko India.

Many members of the Business Correspondent Federation of India are now working with customers to promote vaccination. Common Service Centres are also working to facilitate registration of users.

Published on June 11, 2021

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