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India’s UPI expansion and the call for local fintech empowerment

upi in other countries

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been a hallmark of financial innovation, revolutionising digital transactions within the country since its inception. Now, the UPI is poised to transcend borders, with recent announcements indicating its launch in Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

However, amidst this expansion, concerns have been raised about the dominance of foreign-owned fintech giants like Google Pay and PhonePe in India’s digital payments landscape.

Let’s understand the significance of India’s UPI expansion, the challenges posed by foreign-owned platforms, and the parliamentary recommendations to bolster local fintech players.

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India’s UPI expansion

Today, on February 12, 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside dignitaries from Sri Lanka and Mauritius, will witness the historic launch, underscoring India’s commitment to digital diplomacy.

India’s UPI has garnered widespread acclaim globally, with over 40 countries expressing interest in adopting this innovative payment system.

From France to Bhutan, Oman to the UAE, and the UK to Singapore, nations across the globe are embracing UPI, recognising its transformative potential in modernising financial infrastructure.

Benefits of RuPay card facility expansion

The introduction of RuPay card services, particularly in Mauritius, offers significant advantages as India extends its financial infrastructure to Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

This initiative enhances financial inclusion by enabling local banks to issue RuPay cards, providing a cost-effective payment solution.

Moreover, it facilitates seamless cross-border transactions between India and Mauritius, benefiting travellers and fostering economic ties. 

Additionally, RuPay’s entry challenges the longstanding dominance of global payment networks like Mastercard and Visa, fostering competition and diversity in payment options. This reduces dependency on foreign payment networks and strengthens India’s financial sovereignty.

Overall, this strategic move amplifies financial accessibility, connectivity, and highlights India’s leadership in the digital payment landscape.

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Promoting local fintech amidst market dominance

The growing dominance of foreign-owned fintech giants such as Walmart-owned PhonePe and Google-owned Google Pay poses significant challenges for local players in India’s digital payments sector. 

According to a parliamentary report, Google Pay holds 36.39% of the UPI market share, while PhonePe commands 46.91%, highlighting concerns about market concentration and regulatory implications. 

To address these challenges, the parliamentary panel recommends prioritising the growth of indigenous fintech players, echoing the sentiments of promoting ‘Make in India’ initiatives. 

Policymakers are urged to explore strategies that empower local entrepreneurs and create a more level playing field in the fintech arena. This entails fostering a conducive ecosystem for innovation, investment, and talent development among Indian fintech startups.

Implications for the fintech sector and addressing market concentration

The recommendations put forth by the parliamentary panel hold significant implications for India’s fintech landscape. By prioritising the growth of local players, policymakers aim to create a competitive and inclusive environment that safeguards the nation’s financial sovereignty and promotes economic resilience. 

However, achieving these objectives necessitates addressing market concentration concerns and mitigating risks associated with dominant foreign-owned platforms.

Regulatory interventions, such as imposing a 30% ceiling on UPI volume share for apps proposed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), seek to ensure fair competition and prevent anticompetitive practices.

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In conclusion, India’s UPI expansion signifies a monumental leap toward fostering digital connectivity and modernising financial infrastructure. The introduction of RuPay card services further enhances financial inclusion and promotes India’s fintech ecosystem globally. 

However, challenges posed by the market dominance of foreign-owned platforms underscore the importance of empowering local fintech players. 

By prioritising indigenous innovation and implementing regulatory measures to ensure fair competition, India can strengthen its financial sovereignty and pave the way for sustainable growth in the digital payment landscape.

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