The statement by the governor comes a day after the central bank imposed restrictions upon Mastercard, citing non-compliance with norms on data localisation. Delivering the inaugural address at the Economic Times Financial Inclusion Summit, Das said, “It is quite well known by now that India is among the leaders in the world about development of state-of-the-art payment infrastructure and products leading to wider adoption of digital payments. To give an example, the number of Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53% from 41 crores in May 2017 to 226 crores in May 2021.”
Das said that 91% of prepaid instruments were in the form of e-wallets and the rest in the form of cards. He said the shift to digital has also been accelerated by fast payment systems, such as Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which provide immediate credit to beneficiaries and are available round the clock.
Das pointed out that during June 2021, the payment systems in India processed on an average more than 15 crore transactions each day, amounting to nearly Rs 4.5 lakh crore daily. Of this, UPI alone witnessed over 280 crore transactions.
On UPI, Das said that globally, there has been a lot of interest in the locally developed platform. Another innovation was the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) that facilitates fund transfers/payments and cash withdrawals through micro-ATMs and banking correspondents (BCs) using Aadhaar authentication, he said. During the pandemic, cash transactions at BC outlets through micro-ATMs witnessed significant surge with more than 94 crore transactions accounting for Rs 2.25 lakh crore during 2020-21.
“The pandemic has accelerated the push towards digitalisation with greater adoption of digital payments. It is important to take steps to converge greater digitalisation with goals of financial inclusion,” said Das. He added that all stakeholders must ensure that the financial ecosystem (including the digital medium) is inclusive and capable of effectively addressing risks like mis-selling, cybersecurity and, data privacy.