Nandan Nilekani to lead RBI panel on digital payments

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Updated: January 9, 2019 7:10:49 AM

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said it has decided to set up a high-level committee on deepening of digital payments with a view to encourage digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitisation.

RBI sets up Nandan Nilekani-led panel on digital payments (Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said it has decided to set up a high-level committee on deepening of digital payments with a view to encourage digitisation of payments and enhance financial inclusion through digitisation. The committee will be chaired by former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani.

The other members of the committee are former RBI deputy governor HR Khan, Kishore Sansi, former head of Vijaya Bank, Aruna Sharma, former secretary, ministry of information technology and steel, and Sanjay Jain, chief innovation officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad.

The committee will submit its report within a period of 90 days from the date of its first meeting. The terms of reference for the committee include reviewing the existing status of digitisation of payments in the country, identifying current gaps in the ecosystem and suggesting ways to bridge them and assessing the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion.

The committee will also undertake cross-country analyses with a view to identify best practices that can be adopted in India to accelerate digitisation of the economy and financial inclusion through greater use of digital payments.They will also suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments.

The other functions entrusted to the committee are providing a roadmap for increasing customer confidence and trust while accessing financial services through digital modes and suggesting a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.

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Regulation of digital payments systems in the country had turned out to be a key flashpoint between the government and the central bank under former governor Urjit Patel. In October, the RBI had put out a “dissent note” against some recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for finalisation of Amendments to Payment & Settlement Systems (PSS) Act, including one on the setting up of an independent payments regulatory board (PRB). “There is no case of having a regulator for payment systems outside the RBI,” the central bank had said, adding, “It may be mentioned that RBI does welcome changes and is not totally against a new PSS Bill if indeed required.

It has to be, however, recognised that changes should not result in existing foundations being shaken and the potential creation of disturbances in an otherwise well-functioning and internationally acclaimed structure as far as India is concerned.” Patel eventually stepped down as RBI governor on December 10, citing personal reasons.

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