In­ter­net use boosted dig­i­tal pay­ments

Governance Now - - CONFERENCE REPORT -

al­most 50 mil­lion in­di­ans use in­ter­net 50 hours a month. in­ter­net ap­pli­ca­tions are the talk of the day

In­dian Over­seas Bank MD & CEO R Subra­ma­ni­aku­mar laid em­pha­sis on mak­ing ef­forts to be­come a ‘less cash’ so­ci­ety. He said that cash has a char­ac­ter of anonymity and the mo­ment it moves out of some­one’s hand, it can’t be tracked eas­ily. He said that the ma­jor rea­son be­hind mov­ing to a less cash so­ci­ety is the cash to GDP ra­tio be­ing high­est in the world. “Huge money is be­ing spent in print­ing, cir­cu­lat­ing and man­ag­ing the cash by var­i­ous au­thor­i­ties and reg­u­la­tors of the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

He also talked about some of the al­ter­na­tives avail­able with the gov­ern­ment. “Dig­i­tal has emerged as the ma­jor al­ter­nate to cash. In­ter­net is one of the big­gest in­ven­tions of mankind. In India, in 2001 around seven mil­lion peo­ple were us­ing in­ter­net which has in­creased to 30 times within 15 years. In­ter­net is one of the most dis­rup­tive in­no­va­tions in the re­cent past. Now, we can’t imag­ine our lives with­out smart phones with­out which we start feel­ing rest­less,” Subra­ma­ni­aku­mar said.

“Al­most 50 mil­lion In­di­ans use in­ter­net 50 hours a month. In­ter­net ap­pli­ca­tions are the talk of the day. In­ter­net has cre­ated new busi­ness mod­els and ver­ti­cals like so­cial me­dia. New in­ter­net ap­pli­ca­tions are driv­ing net neu­tral­ity. The mo­ment we want to move to­wards less cash so­ci­ety, we prob­a­bly start look­ing at money as a data. E-com­merce plat­forms are shift­ing the users from shop­ping at the stores to shop­ping on the go. The in­ter­net user com­mu­nity in India is grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially,” he said.

He high­lighted a few statis­tics on in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ter­net users in the coun­try. “In the first 20 years of in­tro­duc­tion of in­ter­net, 100 mil­lion users hooked on to it and I am sure that over 100 mil­lion new users will be us­ing in­ter­net ev­ery year be­cause of in­creas­ing pen­e­tra­tion. The rea­son for in­ter­net’s ex­po­nen­tial growth is not only the in­creas­ing pen­e­tra­tion, but af­ford­abil­ity of the de­vices and data plans rolled out by ser­vice providers. In­tro­duc­tion of ver­nac­u­lar lan­guages in the in­ter­net has in­creased its us­age and peo­ple are ac­cept­ing it well,” he said.

He said that peo­ple’s habit and way of do­ing things have changed. “In­ter­net has the power to im­pact our lives in var­i­ous sec­tors like ed­u­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment. Con­sumers hav­ing net con­nec­tions first go on­line to get the feel of a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct be­fore buy­ing it on­line where they usu­ally get dis­counts. As an in­stance, peo­ple of­ten go to malls to check how a par­tic­u­lar item looks like and then they buy it on­line. This kind of dis­rup­tion is not hap­pen­ing in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices that may be one of the rea­sons that we are not able to deepen prod­ucts and ser­vices to the last mile,” he said.

r subra­ma­ni­aku­mar, MD & CEO, in­dian Over­seas bank

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