Indians are extremely flexible in adopting technology: Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Government of India, on the post-demonetization phase and how it has boosted digital migration across urban and rural areas

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: May 4, 2017 7:53 AM
Indians are extremely flexible in adopting technology: Arun Jaitley

Post demonetization, the adoption of new technology and migration to digital payments has witnessed a steep rise across the country. This in turn has also led to the rise of some new technological innovations, especially in the Fintech sector, some of which are unique to India.

Speaking about the big shift in digital adoption post demonetization and how it has ushered in a new phase in India’s growth story, Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Government of India, said, “We are going to charter into a territory, which we have not visualized. Demonetization is not a baby step but a major step that has been taken. Initially, we had a concern about how people will adjust to it, and suddenly after a few weeks, the whole debate itself has settled down.”

While some may argue that India is culturally a cash-first economy and likely to remain so, Jaitley thinks otherwise. The minister believes that Indians are far more flexible when it comes to adopting new technology. “One of the fascinating features of this country has been that people are extremely flexible in adopting technology. There are some who may have technology blockades in their minds, but that cannot be said of the entire set of emerging generations. Therefore, what all was written about and spoken about, even by men of credible record, on demonetization, India proved every bit of it to be wrong. There was no two per cent dip in the GDP, there was no disappearance of banks and no agrarian crisis.”

In the aftermath of demonetization, there has been a new competition shaping up in the Fintech world. Newer technologies are being tested every day to make the digital payment systems more hassle free and secure. From private players to the government-backed banks, everyone is trying to get a slice of the digital payment market, which is already dominated by players like Paytm, MobiKwik and others. Even the government-owned Aadhar is getting a new lease of life.

Elaborating on the growing Fintech culture, Jailtley added, “The movement towards digitization has created newer technologies and newer forms of electronic modes of payment. The Aadhar-enabled payment is unique to us and no other country has this technology or privilege where your thumb becomes your credit or debit card and links it with your bank account. Earlier, no one realized what financial inclusion can do to this country. Suddenly, you had the world’s largest financial inclusion programme literally in the matter of days and weeks.”

Stating that India is going through a new shift fuelled by the growing digital culture, Jaitley underlined that it was time to shed the obsolete and lap up the emerging culture. “Suddenly, we find that the whole debate in this country is taking a new turn. I’m glad that some obsolete ideas are clashing with some newer ones, and out of this debate itself, it is easier to find out which side of the argument will win.”

Jaitley was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of ICICI Bank’s digital village project.

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