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The Government is committed to foster Financial Inclusion through digitization: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Nov 03, 2018

The government has created an ecosystem and an enabling environment – by relaxing laws, easing procedures and removing barriers- to foster growth which in turn would facilitate financial inclusion and social empowerment.  The government is committed to foster inclusion through digitization as a medium. Instruments such as mudra, Jhan Dhan, JAM trinity and aadhar have been transformational in paving the way for financial inclusion. Around 55 percent of banks accounts worldwide have been opened in India through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. This was stated by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Government of India at the Financial Inclusion Summit 2018 organised by CII at New Delhi today.

Shri Prasad maintained that fintech has been a powerful tool to empower the digital profile of India. It has led to innovative methods of delivering services to the grassroots especially when it comes to delivering hospital services at the village level, scholarship payments, creation of e- mandis, among others. Citing the widespread use of the BHIM app by ordinary people, the Minister stated that the government has realized that India has the propensity to use technology and this is being leveraged to facilitate financial inclusion and empowerment.

He further stated that there is enthusiasm among youth towards setting up start- ups which is a testimony to the rapidity of technological changes taking place in India. Today there are eight start- ups in the country which have become unicorns. The government is pushing the case of digital economy-telecom, IT, e-commerce, AI, new technology, fintech, etc - to the tune of US $ 1 trillion. 

The Hon’ble Minister was supportive of data privacy laws and welcomed the Supreme Court judgement which stated that privacy cannot kill innovation. On data, he mentioned that the stakeholder is the trustee of data on behalf of the owner of data. And every Indian must own data. However, there should be a healthy balance between openness, availability, utilization and privacy of data. Further, AI should be used but with a human touch.

Shri Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, stated that the government, in the last 3-4 years, has pushed the limits of digitization to bring efficiency in the system and foster financial inclusion. According to Mr Kant, digitisation has reached a stage where it would power financial inclusion for decades to come. Further, the creation of India Stack is the biggest financial and technological innovation which would help all stakeholders viz banks, fintech, insurance, digilock, UPI, among others.

Acknowledging that technology is the key driver of growth, he underscored the importance of paperless financial inclusion on the back of the mobile and advocated linkage with Aadhar and use of artificial intelligence to push India to advance ahead of the rest of the world. He stated that had the data privacy laws been in place, then the recent Supreme Court judgement, on striking section 57 of Aadhar Act would not have been necessary.

Mr P. K Gupta, Managing Director,- Retail & Digital Banking, State Bank of India  emphasized the important role played by digitization to generate data which is important for innovation and for growth to percolate to the grassroot level. He underpinned the role of digitization in formalization of the economy. Among the challenges, he said that to keep pace with digitization, banks would have to keep on innovating and upscaling data and be prompt in data management and governance.

Dr. Janmajaya Sinha, Chairman, CII National Committee on Financial Inclusion complimented the government for promoting formalization through demonetisation and introduction of GST and said that the push in financial services, led by technology, would give a fillip to financial inclusion.

3 November 2018

New Delhi

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