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Tatas eye banking infrastructure development

November 15, 2006 11:10 IST

Tata group plans to foray into banking infrastructure development. The Tatas are currently in discussions with the Reserve Bank of India to operate such infrastructure on a build-own-lease basis, said Kishor Chaukar, managing director, Tata Industries.

Though the group has not made a formal application to RBI, it is in discussions for building banking infrastructure such as ATMs.

Banking infrastructure is a new thrust area for Tata Industries, one of the two holding companies of the Tata Group, focusing on entry of the group into new and high tech areas.

Chaukar said that some of the banks, with whom Tata Industries discussed the idea, had shown interest in the initiative.

"There is no strong ideological resistance to ownership of banking infrastructure by a non-banking institutions," he said.

Though RBI doesn't allow non-banking institutions or corporates to own banking infrastructure, these developments will take place in India in 4-5 years, he said.

Elaborating on the group's plans in the banking infrastructure area, he said electronic money boxes, manned by the security agencies, could be installed near commercial establishments for depositing cash and could be linked to the bank's servers so that cash deposited in the boxes could be credited into the accounts.

These moneyboxes are in use in the UK and US. However, countries such as India would require a machine for handling different currency types - often, soiled and mutilated notes.

Currently, cash machine can handle only two or three categories of currencies. Tata Industries is also in discussion with IIT-Madras for developing machines, which can handle about five categories of currency notes.

Chaukar said that Tata Industries expected to invest $5-6 million in areas like biotech and alternate medicine, among its new thrust areas.
BS Reporter in Chennai