“It was encouraging to see the ‘Sankalp of Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as well as inclusive and sustainable development come into focus right at the beginning of Financial Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech. We had hoped for a boost to digital as it has the ability to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots when it comes to access to financial services. This was evident when the lockdown hit last year, when the digital financial infrastructure came to the rescue of millions of citizens. So, the incentive of Rs. 1,500 crore for digital payments is a move in the right direction. We are eagerly waiting to see what the scheme entails and how the industry can benefit from it. We hope a part of the fund goes towards fostering the banking correspondents (BC) network by introducing reimbursement schemes or alternatives to zero merchant discount rates (MDR) which has hampered the growth of the network and the payments ecosystem. We also expect the scheme to have provisions for device subsidy to strengthen the micro ATM infrastructure in rural India. We believe it will accelerate the transformation towards an Aatmanirbhar, Digital India and bring about financial inclusion for underserved parts of India.
We are also excited to see the innovations that emerge out of GIFT International Financial Services Centre to support rural financial infrastructure to be on par with urban India. This is in alignment with Spice Money’s vision to bring innovation in rural fintech and uplift the underserved parts of India.”