Bill Gates has praised India for digital payments policies at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Tuesday. The billionaire said that India has built an ambitious platform for digital payments, including a system for sending rupees between any bank or smartphone app.
Gates said such advancements in financial innovations have drastically reduced the cost and friction of distributing aid to the poor, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Microsoft co-founder said that he is working with other countries to roll-out open-source technologies based on India's policies. He said, "India is a great example," and therefore his organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping some countries that don't have established standards to roll out similar systems based on open-source technologies, Bloomberg reported.
"If people are going to study one country right now, other than China, I'd say they should look at India," Gates said at the festival. "Things are really exploding there and innovation around that system is phenomenal," he added.
India's digital payment system got a major boost in 2016 due to demonetisation, accompanied by a boom in smartphones and cheap wireless data.
According to October data from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Google Pay and PhonePe together accounted for more than 80 per cent of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) market.
As per the data, Rs 1,65,654.71 crore worth of transactions happened through Google Pay in October, while Rs 1,68,085.06 crore worth of transactions took place through PhonePe. Additionally, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which recently rolled out its payment feature in the country, saw transactions worth Rs 9.32 crore in October.
Further, Gates also spoke about the coronavirus vaccine. He seemed optimistic about how quickly vaccines were being developed to address the pandemic. Gates expects at least six COVID-19 vaccines will get approval and will become ready for distribution by the spring of 2021.
His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working Serum Institute of India to manufacture AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine.Also read: Successful bidder of Pawan Hans can't fire permanent employees for a year