BHIM UPI goes global: Demonstrated at Singapore FinTech Festival

As a first step towards internationalization, a global pilot demo of BHIM UPI QR-based payments began on 13 November 2019 with a live transaction at merchant terminal at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2019. The Indian contingent with participation of 43 companies and start-ups was one of the largest at Singapore FinTech Festival 2019 being held between 11 and 15 November.

Background: In May 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the launch of BHIM UPI QR code-based payments internationally after launching RuPay International card and SBI’s UPI based remittance app in Singapore, as an achievement for fintech cooperation between India and Singapore.

Key Highlights

This is the first time that BHIM app has gone international and the first transaction under the pilot run was demonstrated by Jawed Ashraf, High Commissioner of India to Singapore.

The project is being jointly developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Singapore’s Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). This QR code-based system would allow anyone with a BHIM app to scan Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) at NETS terminals in Singapore for payments.

The project is targeted to go fully live by February 2020 and cover thousands of terminals in Singapore, after Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) approval. Moreover, by February 2020, it is also expected that all RuPay cards, including domestic ones, will be acceptable in Singapore.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also inked between Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for working towards access of TPCI dashboard to Business sans Borders (BSB).

What is Business sans Borders (BSB)?

It is a hub for connecting trade platforms of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and is currently running a pilot with SMEs in Southeast Asia and India. It is a project conceived by Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Once BSB is fully rolled out, it will allow millions of SMEs across region to reach a wider market domestically and internationally and access ancillary services such as credit facilities, logistics, insurance, as well as legal and professional services. Currently, The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), is already connected to BSB through a platform provided by Mastercard GlobalLinker. CAIT have about 70 million traders in India as its members.

India attends IUCN’s 7th Regional Conservation Forum held at Islamabad

International Union for Conservation of Nature organized the 7th Regional Conservation Forum in Islamabad, Pakistan. Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change represented India at the forum. More than 500 representatives from different countries, corporate sector and NGOs participated in the forum

Reports from the Forum

  • Rapid melting of Himalayan Glacier to cause food and water shortage to 800 million people in South Asia and South-East Asia including China.
  • 36% Glaciers in the regions of Himalayas and Hindukush are to vanish by 2100.
  • The Himalayan and the Mekong basin are at greater risks. Failing to take timely actions will affect millions of people in the region
  • The Shrinking Glaciers are the biggest challenge to the policy makers. This is because they contribute to the seasonal run off. This is very common in the climatically drier western regions. It increases the risks of outburst floods adding to the expansion of unstable proglacial lakes.
  • The increasing Global Warming is decimating the glaciers of Hindu Kush Himalaya region. In the coming years, it is predicted that if current situation continues, the entire food production base in the region might get vanished.
  • The rate of Global Warming is greater than in any other part of the world
  • 10 inches of ice melted in the Himalayan region between 1975 and 2000. However, this increased twice by 2016. Between 2000 and 2016, the ice melting in the region increased to 20 inches.

Significance

  • The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is the origin of 10 major river basins. IT provides livelihoods to over 240 million people directly and around 1.9 billion people indirectly. Around 3 billion people are dependent on the food produced in the basin.
  • The Himalayan Glaciers are considered the third pole of the world mainly because of the sheer volume of the ice they hold.