India is the second most populous country of the world and it is believed that if it continues to grow at the same rate, it may surpass China in next 5 years i.e. till 2021.

According to the World Bank’s Report (2014), almost 67.63% people of India’s total population are still living in rural areas. So, saying that “the road to the economic growth of the country passes through the rural areas” will not be hyperbolic at all.

According to these two stats I have mentioned above it’s easy to derive the following:

1. India is among the best market places.
2. Strengthening rural reach is must to increase the country’s GDP rate.

Recently Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitly, in “Finance Budget 2016-17”, has taken some firm steps to lift the livelihood of rural areas and align them with the upfront developing urban areas by boosting some extra money via different initiatives and schemes like PMKSY (Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna), PMFBY (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna), PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna) and many more.

This will definitely increase the economic growth of India, if all these schemes will be implemented in a bottom-up manner.

Understanding the importance of rural development, many companies are walking hand-in-hand with the GOI and focusing towards unreached rural areas. This may be good for India’s economy but their aim is different, to maximize their revenues just by strengthening rural reach.

How to Strengthen Rural Reach?

This can be done in three phases:

1. Banking for unbanked :

First, provide the banking facilities so that they can fulfill their basic needs of food, clothes, and shelter. Only then there purchasing power will increase and they will be able stand up on their own foot. And Regional Rural Banks (RRB’s), New Payment banks, Small Finance banks are doing fine in this field. Now, rural people are able to take loans easily and initiatives like “Stand Up India”, Start Up India” are strengthening them up.

2. Technology :

In the modern era, technology plays a vital role. And the best way to strengthen rural reach is connecting them with Internet. As we can see that almost every people has a smartphone and smartphone’s market is growing rapidly in the rural skirts. Rural people are learning to be technology-friendly and willing to connect to the outer world via these gadgets and internet.

3. Distribution Network :

For overall development, a wide-spread distribution network is necessary. Initiatives around Business Correspondent, India Post being given a banking license and also venturing into E-commerce delivery, the necessary distribution network is slated to grow and cover the rural areas.

The Language Barrier:

In India, there are 29 states and 7 union territories, each of them have different culture and different number of spoken languages.

According to the Census of India (1961), the total number of mother tongues spoken in India is 1652 (including languages non-native to the subcontinent). The stats are too deep, but let me sum some interesting stats up in the following one sentences:

“22 languages are listed as “official” languages, 29 languages have more than a million speakers, 60 languages have more than 100000 speakers, and 122 languages have more than 10000 speakers.”

Wow! How blessed we are?
Wait, this is one of the major problems to look into.

Breaking the Language Barrier:

In earlier days, smartphones and internet was available in English only. But most of the rural areas of India are untouched with English. So, providing smartphones only in English language stands like a major obstacle in order to strengthen rural reach.

To overcome this, the smartphones companies are focusing more to adopt local languages in their smartphones. This is increasing their sells and helping the rural people avail the smartphone.

So, making a smartphone which supports multiple languages is like next boom in the smartphone industry.
Today, every smartphone making company is manufacturing cheap, multilingual, and internet-savvy mobile phones and they are competing with each other.

With the easy access of multilingual smartphones, Internet is happening for them. And the modern era of globalization and connectivity internet is more like a market place. Now, they can easily learn new things. Healthcare, education, agriculture, information technology, SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) and other services are easily accessible in the rural areas because of the happening of the Internet in regional languages.

Easy access of smartphone and internet supporting multiple regional languages, all the industries or companies are targeting rural approach. This approach is based upon these two important aspects:

1. To communicate with the rural people in their local languages. Hence, opening their service centers in rural areas and hiring from rural areas.
2. To offer more in line with local flavors. Hence, using rural resources and developing rural infrastructure.

Unlike earlier days, they are hiring form the rural areas so that these employees can help the company reaching in the rural areas and provide services in the local language to engage more and more consumers and double or triple their revenues.

E-commerce and Need of Multilingual Payment Page:

In the same manner, after being saturated from urban reach, e-commerce companies are also looking some good business opportunities in rural areas. With increasing rural literacy rate, purchasing power of rural people and internet happening to rural areas in their own regional languages, the demand of e-commerce companies in rural areas is increasing day-by day. Hence, these e-commerce companies are capturing them with multilingual websites and mobile applications. So, it’s easy for rural people to access thousands of clothes, accessories, furniture, books, and other important things for their day-to-day life just by visiting these websites and choosing a favorable payment mode.

Basically, the e-commerce companies provide two payment modes:

1. COD (Cash on Delivery)
2. Payment through plastic cards like debit cards, credit cards etc.

And using COD is fine but to make payments through plastic cards, after choosing the order, you are redirected to a payment page where you have to fill all the card details and OTP or Internet banking password when you are redirected to your bank’s page. Generally, all the payment pages are in English only, which creates a problem for these rural people.

Hence, a payment gateway which supports the regional languages is necessary. And to deliver the local experience for payment processing our multilingual payment page is ready with Ingenico ePayments India Private Limited payment gateway which supports as many as 7 different language namely English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujrati, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. This gives flexibility to merchant; to design his website and payment page as per his market’s language requirement and generate more revenue, since the consumer will now transact in the language he is more comfortable with. “Sooner or later, as the Internet penetration in rural India increases, e commerce players will definitely need a payment solution in regional language, we have kept our self ready for the movement.” Said Bhavin Mody: Director EBS.