This is How the Government can Boost Digitalisation with Union Budget 2018-19 19% of the Indian population continues to remain unbanked, or financially excluded despite the best efforts of financial institutions
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The FY2018-19 Union Budget is touted to be a very important budget for the Indian Fintech Industry. It is not just the last regular budget by the present government in power before the country goes to the election in 2019 but also is expected to open a pandora of reforms focusing on financial inclusion in the grassroots of the country.
According to a joint study released by ASSOCHAM and EY, 19% of the Indian population continues to remain unbanked, or financially excluded despite the best efforts of financial institutions. Similarly, India loses 10% as fees in remittances received from NRIs from across the world due to the presence of intermediaries and hierarchies of layers.
"While the government has taken several steps to spread financial inclusion and create a secure and transparent environment, we still see issues like financial exclusion of the grass-root population in India leading to a loss of revenue that could potentially help with infrastructural growth," says Atul Khekade, Co-Founder and Ecosystem Development, XinFin Hybrid Blockchain
In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, fintech entrepreneurs share their concerns and expectations with the next Union Budget 2018-19:
For the last few years, the government is pushing for a cashless and digitized economy. With trends like borderless payments, cashless economy, Internet of Things, cloud and cybersecurity, the usage of technology might go up to solve macro-level problems.
"This year the budget will mostly talk about the ability and length to which a digital economy can help the country apart from the strength of technologies like blockchain in fields like healthcare, aviation, banking to solve discrepancies and bring more transparency to the macro-system at large," Khekade projected.
Policies and taxations are integral to the entire digital push that the government is working on and therefore the government needs to understand that tier-3 and tier-4 cities are yet to adapt to digital means, said Niranj Sangal, Group CEO, OMA Emirates. He also added that "For the further penetration of digital payments via UPI, BHIM, etc., it hence becomes important to encourage such markets by incentivizing businesses and consumers equally"
Additionally, companies in the business of acquiring, issuance and deployment need to invest in developing networks and systems. Therefore Sangal suggested tax relaxation for such companies will be beneficial as it paves way for the corporate to increase investments in the development of networks which will, in turn, enhance digital payments acceptance points.
"Lowering taxes on the whole for the payments industry will further enhance the digital payments ecosystem," he shared.
The Government is likely to look at the benefits of blockchain and token based economies for job creation and getting the unbanked economy on the financial system by making the right use of blockchain technology.
India also faces a huge infrastructure deficit today due to the lack of access to finance for many of the infrastructure projects and providers. Khekade shared that blockchain provides transparency to the international investors who may be looking to invest in India's infrastructure projects and contribute to its growth.
"Considering the strong pro-development stance of the government, they should declare favourable policies for making the right use of blockchain technology," he added.
Lastly, Charlie Lee, CEO, True Balance feels the sector will also benefit from a continued evolution of GST and a much-needed clarity on its implementation.
But with the upcoming budget, the entrepreneur is looking forward to SOPs for fintech companies providing data protection since along with the rise in digital payments and online lending, cybersecurity issues have also increased.