Regulatory Sandbox: RBI seeks applications under 2nd cohort

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December 16, 2020 9:33 PM

Reserve Bank on Wednesday announced the second cohort under the Regulatory Sandbox (RS) with the theme of 'Cross Border Payments' and also reduced net-worth requirement for entities interested in participating.

The central bank had announced opening of the first cohort under RS with the theme of 'Retail Payments'.

The Reserve Bank on Wednesday announced the second cohort under the Regulatory Sandbox (RS) with the theme of ‘Cross Border Payments’ and also reduced net-worth requirement for entities interested in participating. Regulatory sandbox refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may permit certain relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing. The RS allows the regulator, innovators, financial service providers and customers to conduct field tests to collect evidence on the benefits and risks of new products and systems.

The central bank had announced opening of the first cohort under RS with the theme of ‘Retail Payments’. It has also decided on ‘MSME Lending’ as the theme for the third cohort, details of which it will announce in due course. “To encourage innovation and broad base the eligibility criteria, the enabling framework has been modified by reducing net worth requirement from the existing Rs 25 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, as also including Partnership firms and Limited Liability Partnership (LLPs) to participate in the RS,” the RBI said in a statement.

Entities meeting the eligibility criteria and having the product technologically ready for testing in the RS and / or deployment in the broader market, as per the theme of the cohort, may apply, it said. India is the largest recipient of inbound remittances, accounting for 15 per cent of global share. In 2019, India received USD 83 billion and in the first half of 2020, has received USD 27.4 billion.

Further, the daily average turnover of OTC foreign exchange instruments in India is approximately USD 40 billion. “The Cohort is expected to spur innovations capable of recasting the cross-border payments landscape by leveraging new technologies to meet the needs of a low cost, secure, convenient and transparent system in a faster manner,” the central bank said.

As per the enabling framework for RS, entities may not be suitable for the RS if the proposed financial service is similar to those already being offered in India, unless the applicants can show that either a different technology is being applied or the same technology is being implemented in a more efficient and effective manner, it said. The objective of the RS is to foster responsible innovation in financial services, promote efficiency and bring benefit to consumers.

As per the RBI, first and foremost benefit of RS is that it fosters ‘learning by doing’ on all sides. Among other benefits, the RS could lead to better outcomes for consumers through an increased range of products and services, reduced costs and improved access to financial services. The target applicants for entry to the RS are fintech companies, including startups, banks, financial institutions, any other company, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and partnership firms partnering with or providing support to financial services businesses.

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