November 21, 2016

USAID, Finance Ministry bring Catalyst for digital payments in India

Written by Mugdha Variyar

This story originally appeared on Economic Times.

BENGALURU: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of a new initiative, called Catalyst, on Friday, in partnership with the Indian finance ministry, to scale digital payments systems in India. The project will be implemented in a single city as a pilot to increase digital payments before it is taken to other cities.

Badal Malick, who was till last month the vice-president of omnichannel strategy at online marketplace Snapdeal, has been appointed the CEO for Catalyst, while Alok Gupta, who was a member of the original Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) team that developed and implemented Aadhaar, has been appointed Director of Project Incubation.

So far, six cities have been shortlisted, including Indore, Visakhapatanam, Kota, Jaipur, Bhopal and Nagpur, of which one will be chosen for the project. The criteria for shortlisting these cities were the level of smartphone penetration, digital finance penetration, mobilization of merchants in the local economy, and administrative feasibility, the team said. Once the city is chosen, ground operations will start by the end of this year, Malick said.

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