The world’s second largest country in the world in terms of population has announced that it will become the latest member of the United Nations backed Better Than Cash Alliance as a means of improving financial inclusion. The Better Than Cash Alliance was set up in 2012 by a group of development organizations, foundations and private companies in a bid to lobby for a shift towards electronic payments in the fight against global poverty.
The Indian government through a series of recent initiatives has tried to increase electronic payment use as part of its overall strategy to boost financial inclusion and bring hundreds of millions of unbanked individuals into the fold. According to the Indian authorities, India is joining the alliance on the first anniversary of the launch of the country’s financial inclusion program that has seen 175 million new bank accounts opened, with deposits of more than $3.4 billion.
Commenting on the move, Ruth Goodwin-Groen, MD of the Better Than Cash Alliance,
“By making the digitization of payments to achieve financial inclusion a top priority, the Indian Government is showing its commitment to improving the lives of its people and driving inclusive growth.”
While financial inclusion is a long process, the move by the Indian government only reinforces their commitment to devoting resources to improving electronic payment use domestically and will pay dividends over the long run as the country moves away from cash and other traditional payment instruments.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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