Many of India’s highest-ranking officials have reiterated their commitment to achieving sustainable development through the widespread application of fintech at the two-day Global Fintech Fest 2022 (GFF 2022); which concluded in Mumbai yesterday.
In line with the conference’s theme, ‘creating a sustainable financial world: global, inclusive, green,’ Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian minister of finance and corporate affairs, opened the conference with “We have led the way for an inclusive financial world through a presence less layer, paperless layer, cashless layer and consent layer.
“These four layers of inclusion are capturing the attention of the world. We are focussed on creating a sustainable financial world which is global, green and inclusive.”
“Indian regulators started emphasising green and sustainable practices in 2007. However, it was only in 2015 that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) included lending to social infrastructure and small renewable energy projects within the priority sector lending,” she added.
The first day of the event commenced with a session on ‘creating a sustainable financial world’ which was headed by Kris Gopalakrishnan, chairman of the GFF 2022 advisory board, chairman of Axilor Ventures and co-founder of Infosys.
Gopalakrishnan was joined by Naveen Surya, chairman of Fintech Convergence Council, Srinivas Jain, ED and head of strategy at SBI Mutual Fund and Smita Aggarwal, global investments advisor at Flourish Ventures.
This was followed by multiple other sessions throughout the day on themes such as sustainability, financial inclusion, payments, open network for digital commerce (ONDC) and fintech chatbots.
A session on ‘fostering fintech-innovation – the way forward between India and Germany’ was also hosted on the first day of GFF 2022 and attended by Doris Dietze, head of division, German Federal Ministry of Finance and Stefan Halusa, director general, indo-German chamber of commerce; among others.
Addressing delegates at GFF 2022, Shri Shaktikanta Das, governor of RBI, marked the theme of his talk as ‘fintech as a force multiplier’.
“Technology, innovation and fintech are working in tandem and contributing to the dynamism of the sector. In our journey towards a higher level of sustainable development and financial inclusion these forces morphed into force multipliers,” Das said.
“The next decade of finance will be more focused on two central themes – sustainable development and technology-led innovations transforming the lives of the common people,” he added.
On the second day of the conference, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and information technology, skill development and entrepreneurship for the government of India, said, “India is creating one of the largest datasets programs where anonymized non-personal data will be available on a platform for the entire artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem. The use of these data sets will be allowed only to Indian start-ups and companies.”
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), chairperson, Madhabi Puri Buch laid down some core principles that guide regulators, while delivering her keynote address.
“There are some key principles that guide a regulator. These include anonymity, transparency, financial inclusion and structural vulnerability,” she said.
“There is likely to be a regulatory gap when there is something new and innovative that happens in the market. It is up to the regulator to keep pace with that. Our intention is to narrow that regulatory gap in the startup ecosystem,” she added.
GFF 2022 is being supported by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (Invest India), Startup India, Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) and ONDC.