Financial Inclusion Current Affairs - 2020

RBI launches “Innovation Hub” for Financial Inclusion

On August 6, 2020, the Reserve Bank of India launched “Innovation Hub” for ideation and incubation of new capabilities that can be leveraged to deepen financial inclusion.

About Innovation Hub

The hub is being launched to promote the start ups in the country. It will help in ideation and incubation of new capabilities. This will in turn help to deepen financial inclusion in the country and promote efficient banking services.

The hub is to act as a centre to create viable and innovative financial products. This will provide the following benefits

  • The hub will help achieve efficient banking
  • Business continuity in times of emergency
  • Strengthening consumer protection

The RBI has recently taken several similar initiatives to encourage responsible innovation. One such recent initiative is the “Regulatory Sandbox”.

Regulatory Sandbox

A Regulatory Sandbox refers to live testing of new products and services in a controlled regulatory environment where the regulators may permit regulatory relaxations to limit purpose of testing. This framework will act as a boost for the financial technology startups that are looking to innovate. The main aim of the sandbox is to foster responsible innovation in financial services, bring benefits to consumer and promote efficiency.

Norms

RBI will launch Sandbox for the entities that meet the criteria of minimum net worth of Rs 25 lakh. The entity should either be a company registered in the country or banks licensed to operate in India.

Background

According to NITI Aayog, 1 trillion USD worth Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) will be digitally disbursed by 2029. Also, India is one of the fastest growing fintech markets in the world.

The Indian Fintech ecosystem attracts 6 billion USD investments globally since 2014. The Fintech companies use technologies to provide payments, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending. Therefore, to protect consumers and safeguard their interests, there is a need to regulate and supervise fintech firms. Also, there is need to bring in new fintech products to keep up the competition in the world.

EASE 3.0 launched by the Finance Minister to enhance Ease of Banking

On February 26, 2020, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman launched Enhanced Access and Service Excellence (EASE 3.0). It was launched along with the annual report of EASE 2.0 at a function organized by Indian Banks’ Association.

Highlights

The main aim of EASE 3.0 is to make public sector banking technology enabled and smart. By this the initiative intends to achieve ease of banking for customers. Along with its launch, the GoI has also warned about the over reliance of the state-run banks on credit rating agencies while sanctioning loans.

What is EASE?

EASE is set of technology-based banking reforms. It aims at improvising banking sector with technology. It ensures wider financial inclusion, better banking experience and easier credit distribution.

Significance

The initiative will enhance paperless, digital banking. It will also support other GoI initiatives such as Udyami Mitra, credit take-off, Dial-a-loan and credit at a click. EASE will increase the reach all these initiatives and improve the standards of banking sector.