India best destination for fintech firms: Modi

Singapore: Stressing that technology today is creating immense opportunities to transform millions of lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said here that there is an explosion of fintech innovation and enterprise in India and the nation is “your best destination”.

“The future of fintech and Industry 4.0 is emerging in India,” Modi told the gathering in his keynote address at the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) here, adding that India is one of the top nations in fintech adoption.

“So, I say this to all the fintech companies and startups — India is your best destination,” Modi said.

Modi said he would launch on Wednesday a global platform to connect fintech firms and financial institutions, beginning with Asean and Indian banks and fintech companies.

The Prime Minister arrived in Singapore on Wednesday on a two-day visit to attend the East Asia Summit, Asean-India informal meet and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit.

“With the power of fintech and the reach of digital connectivity, we have started a revolution of unprecedented speed and scale.

“To begin with financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians. We have generated more than 1.2 billion biometric identities — called Aadhaar or foundation — in just a few years,” added Modi, the first head of government to deliver the keynote address at the world’s largest financial technology festival.

Modi said that his government came to office in 2014 with a mission of inclusive development.

“Less than 50 per cent of Indians had bank accounts in 2014. Today, it is nearly universal,” he told the audience.

“We are in an age of a historic transition brought about by technology,” the Prime Minister added.

With technology now defining competitiveness and power in the new world, the character of the global economy is changing, he said.

“And, it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives,” he added.

Modi said that digital technology is introducing transparency and eliminating corruption through innovations such as the Government e-Marketor GEM — an integrated platform for purchases by government agencies.

“No longer must a poor citizen in a remote village travel long distances or pay off middlemen to get her rights.

“No longer can fake and duplicate accounts bleed government finances. We have saved over Rs 80,000 crore, or $12 billion in prevented leakages,” Modi said.

“Our digitisation is a success because our payment products cater to everyone,” he added.

The Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) was launched in 2016. Now in its third edition, SFF 2018 has attracted over 30,000 participants from over 100 countries.

With 18 participants, the India Pavilion has the highest number of companies among the 16 country pavilions at the exhibition.

Modi was set to present awards to winners of the first “India-Singapore Hackathon 2018” which aims to harness the innovation potential of the youth from the two nations.