The hotly debated issue of demonetisation in India has found its echo in the ongoing Singapore Fintech Festival and has been termed as a watershed point of the country that created a Fintech boom within the past year. Experts dwelled on the topic about the challenges and opportunities presented by the FinTech boom in India.
The unprecedented step of demonetisation was taken on November 8 last year under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Experts point out this bold step of the government has given many opportunities for FinTech sector including a predicted boom in unsecured lending, the SME segment, targeted financial products such as small ticket insurance and the leverage of biometrics data which is captured by the government for 99 per cent of the Indian population.
The introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) is also an important step predicted to lead Fintech boom in the country. It is another significant opportunity since as the economy digitises, this initiative will result in a far larger pool of economic data becoming available for use by the financial services industry.
There is a movement towards a digital framework and cashless economy in the country.
Participating in the debate, Vish Mishra, Venture Director, Clearstone Venture Partners, said, “We are seeing a seismic shift globally in adopting payment technology. Payment is still leading the way and other sectors are following suit in India.”
However, with the increased use of FinTech, there is also an increased importance on ensuring the safety of data and cyber security.
As India progresses on the path of digitisation and cashless economy, the country faces the challenge of providing connectivity to the remaining rural hinterland. Issues include obtaining resources for improving the infrastructure for digital connectivity, such as building WiFi towers in rural villages and extending telecom coverage.
Being such a big country, there are many challenges and opportunities existing in India. While it is identified as a FinTech leader in the area of payments, India has room to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of lending solutions and in addressing its un-banked and under-banked populations.
The experts who participated in the discussion included Debashis Sen, Additional Chief Secretary in West Bengal government, Shiv Bhasin, Chief Technology Officer, SBI, Rohit Bhagat, Board Director, Axis Bank and Vish Mishra, Venture Director, Clearstone Venture Partners.