'India using digital infra to achieve economic goals'

India using public digital infrastructure to achieve economic goals at home, connect globally: Jawed Ashraf

Representative image/istock

India is using its public digital infrastructure, to take a leap into digital economy in a bid to achieve economic goals in the country and connect globally, India's High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf has said.

The envoy further noted that building digital connectivity and partnerships with Singapore and ASEAN countries, is a priority for India and highlighted how technology has been used effectively to achieve public policy goals in the country during COVID-19 disruptions.

“We are using our public digital infrastructure, rated as the largest in the world, to take a leap into digital economy to achieve our public policy and economic goals at home and connect globally," Ashraf told an online Fintech forum this week.

He highlighted India's several initiatives with Singapore such as interoperability of payment systems, with Singapore being the first country to see the launch of RuPAY in 2018 and BHIM QR at the Singapore Fintech Festival last year, and said that Singapore's NETS cards likely to be accepted in India soon.

The two sides are also working on connecting India's Unified Payment Interface (UPI) with Singapore's FAST (Fast And Secure Transfers) system, which will make remittances to India seamless and efficient, he told some 700 participants from 34 countries at the "SFF Green Shoots Series: Cross-border collaboration between the ASEAN region and India, UK, Denmark and Sweden" held from Singapore via zoom on Tuesday.

India is also collaborating with Singapore on building a digital hub, Business Sans Border, that will connect Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) companies in India online to global supply chain and markets, particularly in the ASEAN market.

Commenting on the role of technology and startups in the COVID-19 situation, he said that technology has been used effectively to achieve public policy goals.

Jawed Ashraf pointed out that USD 5 billion was transferred to 160 million beneficiaries into their accounts in the first three weeks of its launch earlier this month.

Aarogya Setu, a contact tracing app, has helped keep up with managing the spread of coronavirus across the country.

In home-based learning, as mandated in managing the COVID-19 spread, e-vidya and Diksha have drawn 640 million hits since its launch on March 24, 2020.

New initiatives like portability of e-ration cards for migrant workers will cover 640 million beneficiaries by August 2020 and the entire country by March 2021.

Elsewhere, e-trading for agriculture sector and e-market place for MSMEs are being planned.

Digital technology has been an important instrument in the past five years for economic transformation and for empowerment, access and inclusion, Ashraf said adding that it will play a key role in economic recovery after the pandemic.

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