In presence of Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a voice of influence in the world of finance, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore, a leading institution in fintech, Tens of thousands of participants from over one hundred countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took in the challenge and privilege of becoming the first Head of Government to deliver the keynote address at Singapore Fintech Festival.
“Singapore has been a global hub for finance and, it is now taking a leap into the digital future of finance. It was here, in June this year, that I launched India’s RuPay card and the first international remittance mobile app using India’s world class Unified Payment Interface or UPI. Today, I will have the honour to launch a global platform to connect fintech firms and financial institutions, beginning with ASEAN and Indian banks and fintech companies. India and Singapore are also working to connect Indian and ASEAN small and medium enterprises, anchored on an Indian platform, and expand it globally,” said Modi.
PM modi shared an anecdote in form of an advice he had heard going around in start-up circles
● To increase your Venture Capital or VC funding by 10 percent, tell the investors you run a “platform”, not a regular business.
● If you want to increase your VC funding by 20 percent, tell the investors that you are operating in the “fintech space”.
● But, if you really want the investors to empty their pockets, tell them that you are using “blockchain”.
From desktop to cloud, from internet to social media, from IT Services to Internet of Things, we have come a long way in a short time, echoed Modi. “There is daily disruption in businesses. The character of the global economy is changing. Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the new world. And, it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives,” said Modi.
“My government came to office in 2014 with a mission of inclusive development that would touch the lives of every citizen – the weakest in the remotest village. That mission needed a solid foundation of financial inclusion for all – a task that was not easy in a country of India’s size. Yet, we wanted to achieve this in months, not years that conventional wisdom suggested. With the power of fintech and the reach of digital connectivity, we have started a revolution of unprecedented speed and scale. To begin with financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians. We have generated more than 1.2 billion biometric identities – called Aadhaar or foundation – in just a few years. With our Jan DhanYojana, we aimed to give a bank account to every Indian. In three years, we have opened 330 million new bank accounts.These are 330 million sources of identity, dignity and opportunities,” shared Modi.
“Less than 50 percent of Indians had bank accounts in 2014; now, it is nearly universal. So today, more than a billion biometric identities, more than a billion bank accounts and more than a billion cell phones give India by far the biggest public infrastructure in the world. More than Rupees 3.6 lakh crore, or 50 billion dollars of benefits from government have reached the people directly. No longer must a poor citizen in a remote village travel long distances or pay off middle-men to get her rights. No longer can fake and duplicate accounts bleed government finances. We have saved over Rupees 80,000 crore, or 12 billion dollars in prevented leakages. Now, millions who lived on the edge of uncertainty receive insurance in their accounts; and, have access to the security of pension in old age. Banking has come to doorsteps even in remote villages through 400,000 micro ATMs based on Aadhaar.,” added Modi.
Rapid rise of fintech innovation and Startups in India
There is an explosion of fintech innovation and enterprise in India. It has turned India into a leading fintech and Startup nation in the world. The future of fintech and Industry 4.0 is emerging in India. “Our youth are developing apps that are making the dream of paperless, cashless, presence-less, and yet safe and secure, transactions possible for all. That is the wonder of India Stack– simply the largest set of Application Programming Interface in the world. They are using Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and machine learning to create solutions for banks, regulators and consumers. And, they are also embracing our nation’s social missions – from health and education to micro credit and insurance,” expressed Modi.
“This enormous talent pool in India benefits from the ecosystem created by initiatives such as Digital India and Startup India, and by supportive policies, incentives and funding programmes. It also helps that India has the largest data consumption in the world and the cheapest rates for data.And one of the top nations in fintech adoption. So, I say this to all the fintech companies and startups – India is your best destination. The economies of scale achieved in India by the LED bulb industry allowed this energy efficient technology to become more affordable globally. Likewise, India’s vast market can enable fintech products to achieve scale, reduce risks and costs, and go global,” Modi added.