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Indian Payments Authority executive supports RBI’s efforts in CBDC development

indian-payments-authority-executive-supports-rbis-efforts-in-cbdc-development
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Indian Payments Authority executive supports RBI’s efforts in CBDC development

Dilip Asbe, the managing director of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), recently voiced his support for the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) innovative central bank digital currency (CBDC) initiatives.

Speaking at a panel during Mumbai Tech Week, Asbe highlighted the RBI’s plans to introduce a digital rupee as a significant step forward for the fintech industry. He emphasized the potential of the digital currency to catalyze the next wave of fintech innovation, particularly noting the RBI’s announcement of programmable money and offline functionality.

The RBI’s announcement on Feb. 8 marked a pivotal moment for digital currency in India, with plans to make the digital rupee programmable and capable of being exchanged in offline environments. The development is seen as a way to enhance the utility and accessibility of digital currency, especially in areas with limited internet connectivity.

The RBI’s monetary policy statement for 2024 also mentioned the introduction of tokenization and delivery versus payment use cases, which are expected to further encourage the adoption of CBDC in India. Tokenization, in particular, is seen as a critical feature that could secure digital transactions by replacing sensitive payment details with unique identifiers.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has expressed that programmability in digital currency will benefit companies by allowing them to earmark funds for designated expenses. This flexibility is part of the broader effort to integrate digital currency into the Indian financial ecosystem seamlessly.

The RBI has been proactive in testing and implementing features to support the digital rupee, including the introduction of additional factor authentication for digital payment transactions. In September, the RBI collaborated with major financial institutions to introduce features aimed at popularizing CBDC and enhancing retail transactions. These initiatives include enabling offline CBDC transactions and linking the digital rupee to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a move already adopted by the State Bank of India.

Furthermore, the RBI has embarked on a wholesale CBDC pilot program involving nine major banks, focusing on inter-bank borrowing. This initiative is part of a broader exploration of technological solutions to address privacy concerns associated with digital currency.

Insider sources indicate that privacy legislation is in the works to ensure the digital rupee is a secure option for Indian citizens, reflecting the RBI’s cautious approach to the development and implementation of CBDC.