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An executive from the Indian Payments Authority endorses the Reserve Bank of India's endeavors in the development of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

Regulatory Updates
An executive from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Dilip Asbe, has expressed his endorsement of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) innovative initiatives in the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). During a panel discussion at Mumbai Tech Week, Asbe highlighted the RBI's forward-looking plans to introduce a digital rupee, considering it a significant stride in the fintech industry. He underscored the potential of this digital currency to spur the next wave of fintech innovation, particularly acknowledging the RBI's recent announcement regarding programmable money and offline functionality.
The pivotal announcement by the RBI on February 8 marked a crucial moment for digital currency in India. The plans entail making the digital rupee programmable and capable of offline exchanges, aiming to enhance its utility and accessibility, especially in areas with limited internet connectivity. The RBI's monetary policy statement for 2024 also outlined the introduction of tokenization and delivery versus payment use cases, anticipated to further drive the adoption of CBDC in India. Tokenization, viewed as a crucial feature, is seen as a means to secure digital transactions by replacing sensitive payment details with unique identifiers.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has highlighted the benefits of programmability in digital currency, allowing companies to allocate funds for designated expenses. This flexibility aligns with the broader effort to seamlessly integrate digital currency into the Indian financial ecosystem. The RBI has actively tested and implemented features supporting the digital rupee, including additional factor authentication for digital payment transactions. Collaborating with major financial institutions in September, the RBI introduced features to popularize CBDC, such as enabling offline transactions and linking the digital rupee to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a move already embraced by the State Bank of India.
Moreover, the RBI initiated a wholesale CBDC pilot program involving nine major banks, concentrating on inter-bank borrowing. This initiative is part of a comprehensive exploration of technological solutions addressing privacy concerns associated with digital currency. Insider sources suggest that privacy legislation is in progress to ensure the digital rupee is a secure option for Indian citizens, reflecting the RBI's cautious approach to the development and implementation of CBDC.
February 20, 2024