IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday exhorted the banking industry to create an innovative digital platform — as powerful, seamless and robust as UPI — for providing quick and easy credit to MSME, small businessmen, and those at the bottom of pyramid.
The building blocks required to create such a platform are already available, given the strong ecosystem of Aadhaar, mobile phones, UPI (Unified Payments Interface) platform and digilocker, he said asking the banking industry to come up with innovative idea and solutions in three months. Vaishnaw was speaking at ‘Digital payment Utsav’ which was part of a weeklong showcase of India’s achievements in digital space titled ‘Azadi ka Digital Mahotsav’ in the capital.
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Throwing a “challenge” at the bankers present in the audience, the Minister said: “Can we create a platform as powerful, seamless, good, as digital as UPI platform for providing very quick and easy credit to the MSME, small industries, small businessmen…people really at bottom of pyramid.” The Minister expressed willingness to look at promising concepts that are brought after three months, in response to the poser by him.
“You have today a good ecosystem of Aadhaar, mobile phones, UPI platform, digilocker, practically everything you need to create this ecosystem is today available. Take this challenge…next three months work on it, come back and I will be very happy to spend one full day with you to look at concepts you bring,” Vaishnaw said. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, the Minister further said the idea is to ensure that easy credit at good terms, through a seamless process can be made available to people at bottom of pyramid especially for micro and small industries, small businessesmen, street vendors among others.
Addressing the event, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted that technology will play a big, defining role in the shaping the future of the country. India’s performance in digital payment space is the envy of countries all around the world that only a few years back thought they were ahead in technology and innovation. “We are leading the world in this space… we should continue to lead the world in this space,” Chandrasekhar said and assured that IT Ministry is fully committed to playing the role of an enabler and catalyst for this ecosystem to grow and thrive.
The event also saw the launch of innovative solutions including payments-on-the-go. “Wearables are re-defining the true paperless contactless payments, catalysing them further, Bank of Baroda and City Union Bank launched Rupay-on-the-Go,” an official release said. Further, India Post Payments Bank-Punjab National Bank, Kotak Bank, YES Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, and City Union Bank launched contactless credit cards on the RuPay network, the release said.
“India has close to 1.5 crore retail stores/ Kiryana stores. Union Bank announced an android-based SOFTPOS mobile app for point of sales, which will further the cause of digital payment adoption,” the release added. Nearly 40 stalls were set up (at the expo in the event) by various fintechs, banks and other ecosystem partners, who have contributed to digital payments revolution in the country.
The event was marked by various cultural activities, an awards ceremony for banks and fintechs, the launch of `Chutki Baja Ke’ digital payments anthem, and the flag-off of Digital Payments Sandesh Yatra.