Digital and cashless transactions would boost GDP growth of the country in a meaningful transition for Indian economy, said Mr Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Government of India, while addressing a conference on ‘Digital & Cashless Economy: A new paradigm for NextGen Businesses’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi today. He said India was on the verge of a transition from a largely cash economy to a less cash and a more digital economy. He said the move to demonetize was in accordance with the “general will of the citizens of India towards a corruption-free society”.
Mr Meghwal said, “Promotion of a digital economy has had a transformative impact and the people of India have supported the initiative. For the common man, a shift to digital payments has generated significant benefits. Migration to Digital Payments is the way forward towards a cashless economy. The Government of India has conducted various initiatives to spread awareness about the move. The Government of India was empowering people in non-urban and rural areas to enable them to adopt technology. Embracing digital and cashless economy was the collective responsibility of the Government, citizens as well as the corporate sector.”
Hon’ble Minister also released a CII-Deloitte paper on ‘Demonetization for Merchants-The Promise, Potential and Practical’ at the conference.
In his opening remarks, Mr Umang Das, Conference Chairman and Chairman, CII National Sub-Committee on Telecom Infrastructure, said, “Demonetisation is the biggest positive step undertaken for the betterment of the country. With the Government’s flagship ‘Digital India Programme’, adoption of digital payments is playing a crucial role in realizing the vision of a digitally-empowered economy. The vision also aims to change life in rural India by making every citizen a ‘Netizen’ who will be fully-empowered citizens.”
Mr Vinay Thakur, Director (Projects), National e-Governance Division, Ministry of Communications and Information, Government of India, said, “The Government of India has drawn a roadmap towards digitally-empowered society with the focus on integration of services to citizens. We are working on enhancing digital infrastructure for high-speed connectivity aiming at paperless and cashless services.”
Mr Stephen Kehoe, Senior Vice President, Global Financial Inclusion, Visa Inc. (USA) said “This report could not be timelier. DFS providers have a great opportunity to step up and becounted as India looks for support in its efforts to deliver a cash-lite economy. The report’s analysis of consumers and merchants is thorough. We at Visa will use the recommendations to guide our own investments into new solutions for underserved and unbanked Indians across the whole country.”
Introducing the theme of the Conference, Mr Monish Shah, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, said, “As India becomes increasingly digital, customers data will get created on how they live, save, behave, transact and interact. Integration of digital and financial identity of an individual will provide a unique opportunity to understand the individual needs, aspirations as well as credit worthiness. Developing a robust merchant ecosystem is paramount in creating a digital highway in influencing customer adoption and driving customer experience and engagement.”
Ms Shelley Spencer, NetHope Payment Innovations Project Director said that India is taking big leaps towards becoming one of the world’s leading digital economies. She also said that it’s a great time to provide insights on how customers and merchants in India’s emerging middle class can journey on the path from digital enablement to digital empowerment in financial services. The report NetHope is releasing today at CII provides new evidence collected from consumers and merchants that offers providers insights into how to get these consumers and merchants fully embraced in the digital world as a means to financial inclusion.
Mr P Balaji, Director – Regulatory, External Affairs & CSR, Vodafone India, said “The Prime Minister and the Government of India have set the vision for ‘Digital India’ and have taken several pioneering initiatives towards actualising it and to accelerate India’s progression into a less cash economy. The opportunity is to drive this usage for other transactions and enable seamless conversion of cash into digital currency and vice-versa. Payment banks and mobile wallets have an important role in enabling this. With appropriate policy changes, around 2 million retail outlets can easily become ‘microtellers’ overnight and this can be a game changer move where the payment licensees can be leveraged to leapfrog to a cashless economy.”
The Conference marked the presence of eminent speakers from Airtel Payments Bank Ltd, Oxigen, Aeris Communications, Cisco, Times Internet, Paisabazaar.com and others. The conference was attended by over 200 participants from various sectors.
16 February 2017