Digital financial services success rests on rural India now)
The year 2021 has started on a positive note for the digital financial sector in India. On January 5, the Reserve Bank of India announced the creation of a Rs 345-crore Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) to boost digital payments in Tier III to VI centres and the seven North-eastern states. The move will encourage the deployment of Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure in both physical and digital modes, improve digital payments, and give people in small towns and villages better access to financial services. The last few years, in particular, have seen public and private players adopt new-age technologies to empower the semi-urban and rural population with digitised services, including UPI and Immediate Payment Systems, and create an inclusive digital finance ecosystem. Despite this, there are barriers to the penetration of digital services among low-income groups. Some of the reasons for this are lack of financial and digital literacy, the complex nature of digitised financial products, and inadequate payments infrastructure.