New Delhi: The roll-out of Aadhaar, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and account aggregators are the three technology-based solutions that has benefitted India the most in recent times, Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of Infosys Ltd, said on Thursday.
“Transactional efficiency of things like identity, payment efficiency, and the ability to use data for individuals and businesses through account aggregators are the three big productivity leaps that have happened," he said at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit in New Delhi.
Nilekani is the former chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is responsible for rolling out the biometric-based Aadhaar, which comes with a 12-digit unique identity number. He had also played a crucial role in proposing the “invoice matching" model to plug tax evasion under the goods and services tax. Besides, he headed a committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the “Deepening of Digital Payments", which suggested ways to boost digital payment in India.
Nilekani said Aadhaar-based identification helped fast-track the government’s financial inclusion plans through “banking for all", or Jan Dhan Yojana. Similarly, the direct benefit transfer programme enabled subsidy to go directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiary, increasing efficiency and reducing pilferage and fraud.
India’s payments system is unique, with a multi-party payments system on the UPI platform, he said. The latest data shows that UPI-based transactions soared to a new high of 955.02 million in September compared with the earlier record of 918.35 million a month ago.
UPI was launched three years ago and picked momentum after the Centre’s massive exercise to ban high-value currency— ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes—in November 2016. Since then, UPI has also been adopted by several prepaid payment instruments or wallet companies, such as Paytm and Mobikwik.
“We still don’t have WhatsApp (Pay) come online. Once everyone comes online, it is going to be huge. Creating a payments architecture that is low-cost and safe allows you to innovate on edge," Nilekani said. The account aggregator architecture will help individuals and small businesses use data that will increase access to credit, he said.