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How is India's Digital Transformation Shaping World's Digital Future?

The world will witness a landmark event titled "Digital Transformation, An India Story" on July 28. India's digital payment ecosystem has witnessed remarkable growth, fueled in part by the transformative potential of UPI.

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Sonu Vivek
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In 2022, Sunder Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, wrote an inspiring piece about India's remarkable journey in digital transformation. He expressed optimism for India's digital future based on his visit to the country and the investments in AI shared at the Google for India event. These efforts aimed to make India's digital economy more inclusive, helpful, and safe.

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Fast forward to 2023, India took over the G20 presidency, and now the world will witness a milestone event called "Digital Transformation, An India Story" at Chanakya Hall, Sushma Swaraj Bhawan on July 26. The G20 Secretariat, Government of India, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace India, and Meta collaborated to organize this prestigious event. Its primary goal is to showcase India's successful journey in digital transformation.

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Digital Transformation and Enablement Stories by Meta

Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, will present a compelling exhibition at the event, highlighting its Digital Transformation and Enablement Stories. This exhibition will feature remarkable success stories of small businesses that have harnessed the power of the WhatsApp Business App to digitize their operations and expand their enterprises. The showcased stories stand as a testament to how digitization has revolutionized the landscape for small businesses in India.

Keynote Address by Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa of India

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The event will commence with an enlightening keynote address delivered by Amitabh Kant, the G20 Sherpa of India. His insights will shed light on India's pioneering efforts and global impact in shaping digital payment systems worldwide. Additionally, he will elaborate on India's continued dedication to promoting financial inclusion initiatives on a global scale.

Following the keynote, an engaging conversation between Amitabh Kant and Sir Nick Clegg, President Global Affairs at Meta, will take place. During this session, they will delve into India's innovative digital payment systems that have been a source of inspiration for countries across the globe. They will also explore how India continues to support financial inclusion initiatives that benefit the world at large.

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Panel Discussion: 'Digital Transformation, What India Brings to the World'

The event's grand finale will be a thought-provoking panel discussion centered around 'Digital Transformation: What India Brings to the World.' Esteemed experts will analyze India's unique contributions to the global digital landscape, underscoring its role as a pioneering nation in this transformative domain.

What is UPI and Why Does It Matter?

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Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a real-time digital payment system that has revolutionized the way Indians transfer money between bank accounts using their mobile phones. Launched in 2016 by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI forms an integral part of India's digital public infrastructure and Digital India. It operates under enabling rules, providing government and public entities with the means to deliver public services and facilitate economic activity.

The Power of UPI in India's Digital Payments Landscape

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The impact of UPI on India's digital payments landscape cannot be overstated. The system has ushered in fast, easy, secure, and affordable digital payments, significantly transforming the way financial transactions take place in the country. In August 2021, UPI transactions surpassed an astounding 3 billion in a single month, constituting a substantial portion of India's total digital payment volume.

A report by CLSA highlighted that UPI accounts for 60% of total payments by volume, with digital payments surging from $61 billion in FY16 to $300 billion as of FY21. The report further projected this figure to grow to US$0.9 - 1 trillion by FY26, comprising 30% of Indian consumption. This growth is largely attributed to the increasing popularity of online purchases and digital adoption across the nation.

Private Fintech's Role in Driving Financial Inclusion with UPI Payments

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India's digital payment ecosystem has witnessed remarkable growth, fueled in part by the transformative potential of UPI. Leading private fintech companies like Paytm Payments Bank and PhonePe have played a pivotal role in fostering the adoption of UPI payments in India. By providing access to digital financial services, these companies have contributed significantly to promoting financial inclusion, especially for the previously unbanked or underbanked sections of the population.

In particular, WhatsApp Business App, owned by Meta, holds tremendous potential in India. With over 487 million users in India alone, many of whom are small business owners, the app serves as a vital communication tool for showcasing products and services to customers.

UPI Payments: A Global Impact and Strengthening Economic Relations

Beyond India's borders, UPI payments have made a significant impact on the global stage. These digital payment solutions have strengthened India's economic relations with various countries, facilitating smoother business interactions and fostering digital payment alliances.

Collaborations between the NPCI and banking/payment entities in countries like Oman, Saudi Arabia, France, and the UK have enabled the availability of UPI services for Indian citizens abroad. Existing partnerships with Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore, and the UAE have further reinforced the digital payments alliance between India and these nations.

In 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria signed an agreement marking UPI's entry into Africa. This milestone presents a remarkable opportunity for India to bolster diplomatic relations with Nigeria and other African countries.

In Brazil, which has been at the forefront of adopting digital payment solutions, the success of UPI in India could pave the way for knowledge sharing and collaborative efforts to foster further growth in digital financial services.

India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI): Overcoming Barriers to Transformation

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India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) stands as a shining example of how countries and developing economies can surmount traditional barriers to achieve large-scale social and digital transformation at an affordable cost.

DPI encompasses critical enablers of government-citizen engagement, empowering citizens and simplifying governance, business operations, and everyday life. Aadhaar, India's digital identity system, has granted millions access to essential services like healthcare and education. UPI's real-time payment system has brought unprecedented convenience to financial transactions, while DigiLocker offers a secure cloud-based storage system for important documents.

As DPI continues to evolve, its impact will resonate far beyond India, profoundly influencing the lives of people worldwide.

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The upcoming event, "Digital Transformation, An India Story," holds immense promise in showcasing India's remarkable achievements in digital transformation to the world. By featuring speakers from India and industry experts globally, the event will offer valuable insights into India's journey as a digital leader. As the nation continues to innovate and pioneer groundbreaking solutions, it sets a shining example for the rest of the world to follow.

The event, organized by the G20 Secretariat, Government of India, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace India, in collaboration with Meta, will undoubtedly be an event to remember, celebrating India's strides in the digital realm.

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