For quite some time now we have been discussing innovations, innovators and the changing landscape from a traditional to a digital BFSI sector in India. But what about factors that have mobilised this change? Our government has been assembling, organizing and prepping our ecosystem, while the agenda to make India a paperless and cashless economy has top the list for a while now. Their efforts since 2010, with the inception of unique identification for all – Aadhaar to the latest IndiaStack, are tremendous achievements that are spearheading India in the right direction.
The time is apt. Ambitious and progressive entrepreneurs who take a leap with a radical idea will be the ones to set the trend and bring a metamorphosis to our world of finance. Fintegrate Zone 2017 is one such podium that is expecting to see an eruption of unconventional innovations. Opportunities to demonstrate, validate, discover, discern and fraternize with the best minds in the FinTech circle, are just a few of its listed benefits. Digitising every facet of Indian life is the core aim. Technology like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, India Stack and API’s will be deliberated upon to recognize and identify its resourcefulness. Let us try to decipher one of these topics, IndiaStack, to better understand the foundation it sets.
What is IndiaStack?
Application Programming Interface (API), is a set of rules or codes put together to build the basis of an application which empowers multiple software’s to communicate with each other. It is the basis of all our apps and allows a product or service to interact with another product or service. This involves opening up your data and functionality to other developers. Similarly, India Stack is a complete set of Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) made available to developers, under an open API policy. It facilitates development of payment enabled applications. India Stack is the largest API developed till date to enable India’s billion citizens giving them access to goods and services digitally.
Who are the masterminds behind this project?
IndiaStack was the government’s initiative that begun in the year 2012. The reach of Aadhaar by that time was exceptional and growing by leaps and bounds. But, to truly manifest the power of Aadhaar’s database, a robust platform needed to be built. A digital think tank iSpirit came into play to create a unique platform. The conceived platform was called India Stack, which was built with the intention to establish a paperless and cashless service delivery system in India. The project came to life under the sharp and vigilant eye of Mr. Nandan Nilekani, ex-chief of Unique Identification Database Authority of India.
Why do we need it?
IndiaStack is a combination of Aadhaar, e-KYC, e-Sign and UPI. The Aadhaar platform stores and identifies Indian citizens through fingerprint and iris recognition. It covers 95% of the total population in India defining it as the world’s largest authentication system. The Aadhaar database additionally allows users to complete all KYC requirements considering the mandatory documents submitted during the Aadhaar registration process. What is left to complete the authentication? A signature. India Stack is trying to solve this disparity with the ‘digital locker’ system. An individual can digitally sign his documents with Aadhaar, which store such electronic documents safely and securely and can be used for verification in future. With the combination of Aadhaar, e-KYC and e-Sign customers can be identified without the need for physical documents thus making it a paperless process.
How will it benefit us?
The advantage IndiaStack is that an individual can choose to share his vital data for a specific purpose, using electronic consent where he defines with whom and for what purpose the data must be shared. An additional advantage is, with the introduction of Unified Payment Interface a product built by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). With the used of UPI for financial transactions using computers and mobile phones, the complete process of digital access to goods and services will become as seamless as possible.
What can we expect in the future with India Stack?
Well, with payments going digital, transactional processes in the financial world will get streamlined, simpler and cost-effective. Multitudes of people and business that are currently off the grid will be accounted for and part of the formal sector respectively, thus ensuring financial inclusion for all. This will in turn lead to better financial lending options for the unbanked and MSME population. Service delivery in the BFSI sector will become orderly, logical and less prone to frauds and misrepresentations. We will quickly move to a paperless economy.
Imagine walking into your regular bank, an AI robot let’s call her ‘Viki’, asks for your finger print, then greets you by your name. She points out the nearing deadline for the renewal of your current medical insurance and gives you customised options to choose from. You pick one that suits you best and in a split second you have submitted your identification and documents with some past medical records that are stored in your digital locker. You send a digital sign from your screen. And voila! It is done. She then processes your primary task that you had come to the bank for. On your way out Viki wishes you a happy anniversary and asks if you would like to send your wife some flowers? Why not! A few more clicks and you are out the door smiling.
There could be countless opportunities to innovate and disrupt the BFSI sector with the assistance of India Stack and akin technology. All we need are entrepreneurs or leaders with open minds, progressive attitude and the zeal to achieve what may seem impossible today. Buzz sessions and conclaves like Fintegrate Zone 2017, act like launch-pads to such enthusiastic innovators. This is the place where the next idea will be born. From 1st to 3rd of March, join the clan which will shock the BFSI world with its astonishing ideas and innovations.