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Views: Response to NPCI CEO’s comments that what is not written in regulations is a no-go for fintech entities

NPCI CEO Dilip Asbe recently said that what is not written in regulations is a no-go for fintech entities. But following this advice could put an end to innovation.

"I keep saying this to everyone, that what is not written in the regulation, the answer is no. [...] What is not given approval, is a no," Dilip Asbe, MD and CEO of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which operates UPI and other payment systems, said in response to a question on how fintech companies should balance between innovation and compliance. "There is no grey area [in regulations]," Asbe added. The NPCI CEO was speaking at an event hosted by Razorpay on February 23. I don't agree with these remarks because: This is equivalent to saying "no" to innovation: If we are going to say "no" to anything for which there are no explicit regulations, we might as well say "no" to innovation because innovative products and services always emerge in grey areas and regulations generally follow them if the regulators deem it necessary. Saying "no" even before the idea materialises discourages innovation. Take, for example, payment aggregators. These entities are widely used by merchants and they have simplified online and offline payments for both merchants and consumers. However, payment aggregators emerged much before the RBI came out with the guidelines for these entities. If fintech companies waited for these guidelines instead, then payment aggregators might not exist at all. RBI doesn't yet know how to regulate fintech: This is not coming from me, it's coming straight from the horse's mouth. In September last year, RBI Deputy Governor T. Rabi Shankar called for self-regulation in the fintech sector because…

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