The RBI, a couple of days ago, released its Vision 2019-2021 document for the digital payments ecosystem, where it identifies what it intends to achieve in the next three years, and the regulatory changes that will follow in order to achieve these goals. A summary of the document is available here. A few talking points for you to consider, based on the direction outlined in the vision: 1. NPCI is becoming all-powerful, but is not accountable: 1.1 No competition for NPCI: Competition is the first goal post of the four that the RBI Vision 2019-2021 highlights. However, no competition for the NPCI seems to be envisioned in the document. In fact the NPCI seems to the most prominent non-RBI vehicle for achieving this vision: a. 15 of the 36 initiatives that the RBI intends to take in the next 36 months need the NPCI. b. The idea of widening the scope of usage of cards is limited to domestic cards, and in that, limited to RuPay, which is an NPCI product. c. Global outreach of payments systems appear to be limited to the expansion of NPCI-owned systems (CTS, NEFT, UPI) d. The expansion of the usage of QR codes appears limited to only those of the Bharat QR code, which is a proprietary QR code owned and operated by NPCI It's over 2 years since the Ministry of Finance's Watal Committee, rightly, wanted the NPCI to be classified as a Critical Payment Infrastructure Company (CPIC) by the Government of India,…
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