Digital bank­ing ser­vices to boost busi­nesses

FICCI Business Digest - - Content - San­jaya Baru

the easy avail­abil­ity of smug­gled, coun­ter­feit and pi­rated goods in the In­dian mar­ket is not just a chal­lenge to law-en­forc­ing agen­cies and for gov­ern­ment rev­enues but also a threat to do­mes­tic le­gal man­u­fac­tur­ers and, above all, the health of In­dian con­sumers across sev­eral mar­kets. In short, il­le­gal trade, the spread of con­tra­band and fake prod­ucts desta­bilise the le­gal in­dus­try, re­strain in­no­va­tion and in­vest­ments, re­duce gov­ern­ment rev­enues and put the health and safety of con­sumers at risk. Il­le­gal trade spawns transna­tional crime, cor­rup­tion, and ter­ror­ism. The con­ver­gence be­tween il­le­gal busi­ness ac­tiv­ity and anti-so­cial and anti-na­tional ac­tiv­ity is well known and they to­gether un­der­mine the rule of law. Ter­ror­ist groups have sought fund­ing through smug­gling and trade in fake goods. FICCI’s Com­mit­tee Against Smug­gling and Coun­ter­feit­ing Ac­tiv­i­ties De­stroy­ing the Econ­omy (CAS­CADE) has been con­cert­edly ad­dress­ing this is­sue through its var­i­ous pan-In­dia aware­ness gen­er­a­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, build­ing ca­pac­i­ties of law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and un­der­tak­ing ground-break­ing re­search on the ex­tent and im­pact of the me­nace. FICCI or­gan­ised the 4th edi­tion of its In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence ti­tled, ‘MASCRADE 2017’ (Move­ment Against Smug­gling and Coun­ter­feit Trade) in New Delhi on Oc­to­ber 12-13, 2017. The theme of this year’s con­fer­ence was ‘Pro­tect Your Brand Glob­ally: Fight Coun­ter­feit­ing, Smug­gling and Piracy’. The cover story in this is­sue fo­cuses on the me­nace, its ram­i­fi­ca­tions and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. It is now widely recog­nised that tra­di­tional bank­ing meth­ods are no longer enough to meet in­creas­ing cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions and im­prove prof­itabil­ity. Digi­ti­sa­tion and e-bank­ing have be­come com­mon­place. We are al­ready wit­ness­ing ac­cel­er­ated ap­pli­ca­tion of P2P lend­ing, digital pay­ment sys­tems and ag­gre­ga­tors, M-wal­lets, bio­met­rics and robo ad­vi­sory ser­vices, to name a few. All these have gained new ac­cep­tance with the of­fi­cial pro­mo­tion of non­cash trans­ac­tions. The FICCI-IBA an­nual con­fer­ence on bank­ing in Mum­bai on the theme ‘Fi­nance in Digital Era: Nav­i­gat­ing the knowns and un­knowns’, delved into the evolv­ing dy­nam­ics of the new en­vi­ron­ment. Dis­cus­sions re­volved around how in­dus­try play­ers could lever­age tech­nol­ogy which in­cludes ro­bot­ics and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, digital bank­ing to aid growth. Par­tic­i­pants also dis­cussed new ways of credit man­age­ment as well as per­for­mance man­age­ment mea­sures. Con­tin­u­ing with FICCI’s Thought Lead­er­ship Lec­ture se­ries, in Oc­to­ber, the Cham­ber along with CUTS In­ter­na­tional, hosted UNCTAD Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Dr. Mukhisa Ki­tuyi, Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral. The UNCTAD Chief who spoke on ‘Glob­al­i­sa­tion and its Chal­lenges to the Trade and De­vel­op­ment Agenda’ em­pha­sized that trade will re­main the main en­gine of growth for the global econ­omy. How­ever, he noted that trade needs to evolve in tune with emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy, busi­ness and pol­icy in­no­va­tion. Con­cern was ex­pressed about ris­ing pro­tec­tion­ism in the de­vel­oped world and a weak­en­ing of the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem. We bring to you a re­port on the lec­ture. Pro­vid­ing broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess the coun­try is a na­tional pri­or­ity. The BharatNet project of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, which aims to de­ploy high- speed op­ti­cal fi­bre ca­bles across ru­ral ar­eas of the coun­try, has now reached 83,000 gram pan­chay­ats. By De­cem­ber this year, the first phase of BharatNet will be com­plete. This would pro­vide 100,000 gram pan­chay­ats with broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity by lay­ing un­der­ground op­tic fi­bre ca­ble lines. The De­part­ment of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions (DoT) is ag­gres­sively mon­i­tor­ing the ini­tia­tive which aims at pro­vid­ing in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to 2.5 lakh gram pan­chay­ats or vil­lage blocks by March 2019. This up­date was given by Aruna Sun­darara­jan, Sec­re­tary, DoT while speak­ing at ‘i-Bharat 2017’ on the theme ICT Elu­ci­da­tions for Unserved and Un­solved, or­gan­ised by FICCI in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Min­istry of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia. The en­tire project, when com­plete, is ex­pected to give a fil­lip to e-com­merce ser­vices, in­clud­ing e-gov­er­nance, ed­u­ca­tion and tele­vi­sion ser­vices to far flung ar­eas of the coun­try. See re­port in the pages that fol­low. In a new ini­tia­tive, FICCI has ini­ti­ated closed-door, off-the-record in­ter­ac­tion with se­nior pol­icy mak­ers to fa­cil­i­tate a free and frank con­ver­sa­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment and FICCI lead­er­ship. Our guest at the first meet­ing on 3rd Novem­ber 2017 was Min­is­ter of State for Civil Avi­a­tion, Mr Jayant Sinha. We wel­come your com­ments on the con­tents of this is­sue.

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