Is the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) a payments operator? Is it a viable corporation? Is it a regulator for digital payments platforms? Should it be listed on the stock exchange? What does NPCI's future look like when competing institutions come up in the next few years? These are some questions that have cropped up over the last few months after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its framework in August to authorise a New Umbrella Entity (NUE) for retail payments. With the State Bank of India, in tandem with other banks, and the Tata Group eyeing an NUE license from the RBI to develop and operate new retail payments solutions, the NPCI's role in the digital payments ecosystem is bound to change. Between April and September this year, the NPCI processed over 1,525 crore transactions worth over ₹66.85 lakh crore. In the same period of last year, it had processed over 1,153 crore transactions worth over ₹77 lakh crore, according to NPCI data. In September this year alone, it processed over 304 crore transactions worth ₹13.54 lakh crore, up by nearly 50% in terms of volume and 111% in terms of value compared to the same month in the previous year. While the Covid-19 pandemic caused a dip in the value of transactions during the first six-months of this year, transactions across NPCI's 10 product platforms have been growing consistently every month. Transactions on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC), Bharat Bill…
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