A change is likely in the shareholding pattern of National Payments Council of India, the bank owned "non profit" which runs key payment platforms like IMPS and UPI. The Watal Commitee on Financial Payments (pdf) has recommended that the Reserve Bank of India enforce an improvement in the shareholding and governance of retail payment organizations within two months, and points specifically to the NPCI as an example of where change is needed: regulations for restructuring are to be released for public consultation within 60 days. The recommendation from the committee is that the RBI should issue regulations which require NPCI to have a time bound plan to: Move towards diffused shareholding where no individual shareholder along with persons acting in concert can hold more than 5% of the equity share capital. Ensure that shareholding includes all classes of Payment Service Providers Ensure that the board of the NPCI should have majority ‘public interest directors’ - independent directors, representing the interests of consumers in payments markets and who do not have any association, directly or indirectly, which in the opinion of the regulator, is in conflict with their role. Lack of infrastructure and ownership neutrality at the NPCI The reason why the NPCI does the banks bidding here is evident from what the Watal Committee has highlighted in its report: there is no "infrastructure neutrality". MediaNama readers will recall that the NPCI has kept its much promoted Unified Payments Interface (UPI) limited to banks only, and hasn't yet even opened it up…
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