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India Stack Likely to Soon Become the Global Stack: Sitharaman India Stack is a set of APIs which allows the government and private companies to deploy cashless and paperless technology products

By Soumya Duggal

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Nirmala Sitharaman

India stack is likely to soon become the 'global stack', especially with the government working with other countries towards establishing interoperable and cross-border payment systems, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. An ambitious project, the India Stack is a set of APIs (Application Programming Interface) which allows the government and private companies to deploy cashless and paperless technology products, thus ushering in the digital age in the country.

Addressing the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) summit today, Sitharaman said, "Several countries are now telling to us if the India stack could become a global stack. In that, we have payment structures and financial tech, which can talk to each other. Like between counties, India and Singapore, and India and the UAE, we are in an advanced stage in talking about the interoperable system in the financial tech, which is going to ease out a lot of cross-border payments."

Notably, at least five local banks, including State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, are in talks with Singapore's DBS Bank to begin a real-time remittance system with the city-state using the ubiquitous Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as the backbone, according to media reports.

In a fireside chat with Sitharaman at the same event, Ed Knight, executive vice chairman, Nasdaq, said, "The technology stack India has created is truly visionary."

According to Sitharaman, the global stack will not only work for cross-border payments of the Indian diaspora working elsewhere and wanting to send money as remittances, but it will also be more of a cross-border payments system on a high order, which can help bulk transfers of funds i.e. stock market operations, investors, and fund.

Sitharaman also stated that the current geo-political crisis, particularly on account of the Russia-Ukraine war, has increased concerns around climate change issues, creating huge uncertainties around crude, natural gas and coal, which India needs to rely on for some more time. It is for both the U.S. and India to come up with solutions to these concerns, even in the energy-transition period, she said.

Sitharaman added, "The Centre's priority is to ensure jobs, equitable wealth distribution and make sure India is moving on the path of growth."

She identified three strengths based on which both nations can maximise their prosperity: the Indian economy's size, India's demographic strength (two kinds: skilled and high-end, tech-savvy people), and the country's digital prowess, the latter having spread and certified vaccinations and "opened for the entire world" a platform for global communities to track and trace patients.

Sitharaman also referenced India's thriving trade with the U.S., adding that both nations would contribute around 30 per cent of the global GDP in the next two decades. "We'll soon have a new Data Privacy Bill, which will be a product of consultations and will address every such concern most of us had on the Privacy Bill," added the minister.

Soumya Duggal

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