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RBI proposes setting up a self regulatory body for digital payments ecosystem

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed setting up a self-regulatory organisation “for orderly operations of the entities in the payment system” which will serve as a two-way communication channel between the industry and the regulator, in its statement on developmental and regulatory policies. The apex bank will release a framework for establishing this organisation by April 2020, “with a view to fostering best practices on security, customer protection and pricing, among others”.

It is worth mentioning that an RBI-appointed panel, headed by technocrat Nandan Nilekani, in June 2019, had recommended that RBI should facilitate the creation of an SRO for NBFC Account Aggregators, which could further serve as a blueprint for more SROs that may be created later. The Payments Council of India, set up in 2013, under the aegis of IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India), is also a self-regulatory body representing the various regulated non-banking payment industry players, to address and help resolve various industry level issues and barriers which require discussion and action.

Digital Payments Index: The central bank also said that it will periodically publish a composite “Digital Payments Index” (DPI) to capture the extent of digitisation of payments effectively. This index would be prepared based on “multiple parameters,” and will be made available from July 2020 onwards. Interestingly, the same panel headed by Nilekani had also recommended that the RBI should develop a quantitative financial inclusion index to measure the level of implementation in various parts of the country. It had said that this data must be sufficient for stakeholders to monitor the supply of, and demand for, digital financial services, and to assess the impact of key programs and reforms.

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