India is your best destination: PM at Fintech Fest in Singapore
Business Standard , Nov 14, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the keynote address at the Fintech Festival here on Wednesday and pitched India as the best destination for fintech companies and startups.
Prime Minister Modi stated that the rise of fintech innovation and enterprise in India has turned it into a lucrative destination for companies. "It has turned India into a leading fintech and startup nation in the world. The future of fintech and Industry 4.0 is emerging in India. I say this to all the fintech companies and startups - India is your best destination," said the Prime Minister.
While hailing India's technological advances, Modi asserted that booming digital transactions are aiding growth of the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector.
"RuPay is bringing payment cards within the reach of all. Over 250 million of these are with those who did not have a bank account 4 years ago. From cards to QRs and wallets, digital transactions in India are growing rapidly," Modi said, while recalling his Singapore visit during which he launched India's RuPay card and the first international remittance mobile app using the country's world class Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
"Today, 128 banks in India are connected to UPI. Transactions on UPI grew 1500 times in the last 24 months. Every month, the value of transaction is growing by over 30 per cent," he noted.
Talking about digital transactions as revolutionary and path-breaking for India, Modi accredited fintech for the success.
"For those with mobile and internet, the BHIM-UPI is the world's most sophisticated, simple and seamless platform for payments between accounts, using a virtual payment address. For those who have a mobile, but no internet, there is U.S.S.D. system in 12 languages. And, for those who have neither mobile nor internet, there is Aadhar Enabled Payment System, which uses biometrics. And, it has already registered a billion transactions and grown six-fold in two years," Modi asserted.
He further said that digital payments are a boost to the nation's economy. "It is increasing the productivity of individuals and our economy," said the Prime Minister.
Talking about development, Modi reiterated that his government is aimed at inclusive growth.
"My government came to office in 2014 with a mission of inclusive development that would touch the lives of every citizen - the weakest in the remotest village. That mission needed a solid foundation of financial inclusion for all - a task that was not easy in a country of India's size," Modi explained.
Modi credited the power of fintech for this feat and said that it has enabled the digital connectivity revolution at an unprecedented speed and scale.
Prime Minister Modi stated that financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians due to Aadhar, under which as many as 1.2 billion biometric identities have been generated.
As many as 330 million new bank accounts have been opened under the Jan Dhan Yojana, Modi added.
"These are 330 million sources of identity, dignity and opportunities. Less than 50 percent of Indians had bank accounts in 2014; now, it is nearly universal," he said.
The Prime Minister also gave an advised businessmen to increase the venture capital suggesting that, "To increase your Venture Capital or VC funding by 10 percent, tell the investors you run a "platform", not a regular business. If you want to increase your VC funding by 20 percent, tell the investors that you are operating in the "fintech space". But, if you really want the investors to empty their pockets, tell them that you are using "blockchain."
He further asserted that such instances reflect the excitement and promise of emerging technologies to transform the world of finance.
Prime Minister Modi also talked about Goods and Service Tax digital network detailing the fast loan facility for MSME entities.
"And, just this month, we committed to approve loans up to Rupees 1 crore, or one 150,000 dollars for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises within 59 minutes - without even visiting a bank. This is driven by an algorithm that uses GST returns, Income Tax returns and bank statements to make credit decisions. In just a few days, 150,000 such enterprises have come on board for loans," Modi stated.
Talking about technological advances, the Prime Minister stated that it introduces transparency and eliminates corruption.
"Digital technology is introducing transparency and eliminating corruption through innovations such as the Government e-Marketor GEM. It is an integrated platform for purchases by government agencies," he said.
Calling on investors, Modi said, "The Indian story shows six great benefits of fintech: Access, inclusion; connectivity; ease of living; opportunity; and, accountability."
He further asserted that development is incomplete unless everyone partakes in the process.
Talking about development for everyone, Modi said, "Our focus should be development of all, development of the most marginalised. We must bring the unbanked 1.7 billion people in the world into the formal financial market. We must extend the security of insurance and pension to more than a billion workers in the informal sectors worldwide, who still do not have it. We can use fintech to ensure that no dream remains unfulfilled, and no enterprise remains still born, because of lack of access to finance."
Terming Fintech Festival as a "celebration of belief", Modi said that financial revolution is sweeping through India and transforming the lives of 1.3 billion people.
"We see inspiring stories of extraordinary innovation changing ordinary lives. But, there is much to be done. Our focus should be on development for all through development of the marginalised," he said.
This is the third edition of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), which was launched in the year 2016.
Eighteen Indian fintech firms are participating in the festival, while FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and Monetary Authority of Singapore are the principal aggregators. The India Pavilion will have the highest number of companies among the 16 countries at the event.