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RBI launches Innovation Hub to boost financial inclusion; Kris Gopalakrishnan first chairman

BusinessToday.In     November 17, 2020

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the launch of its Innovation Hub on Tuesday. This initiative will create an ecosystem to facilitate access to financial services and products and promote financial inclusion. The Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) is meant to promote innovation across the financial sector by leveraging on technology and creating an environment which would facilitate and foster innovation, RBI stated.

The RBIH would be guided and managed by a Governing Council (GC) led by a Chairperson. The central bank has appointed Infosys co-founder and former chairman Senapathy 'Kris' Gopalakrishnan as the first chairperson of the RBIH. The Indian IT sector veteran is currently the Chief Mentor of Start-up Village, an incubation hub for start-ups.

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Other members of the Governing Council include Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Institute Professor, IIT, Madras; H Krishnamurthy, Principal Research Scientist, IISc, Bengaluru; Gopal Srinivasan, CMD, TVS Capital Funds; AP Hota, Former CEO, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI); and Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Former CMD, Syndicate Bank. RBI officials, including T Rabi Sankar, Executive Director; and Deepak Kumar, CGM, Department of Information Technology; along with K Nikhila, Director, Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology, Hyderabad  would be the ex-officio members of the Governing Council.

The central bank first coined the concept of RBIH in its Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies under the monetary policy statement released in August. The Innovation Hub was ideated as a "centre for ideation and incubation of new capabilities which can be leveraged to create innovative and viable financial products and services to help achieve the wider objectives of deepening financial inclusion, efficient banking services, business continuity in times of emergency, strengthening consumer protection, etc."

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The RBIH would then support, promote and hand-hold ideas across regulatory remits and national boundaries.

"The RBIH shall create an eco-system that would focus on promoting access to financial services and products. This will also promote financial inclusion. The Hub will collaborate with financial sector institutions, technology industry and academic institutions and coordinate efforts for exchange of ideas and development of prototypes related to financial innovations. It would develop internal infrastructure to promote fintech research and facilitate engagement with innovators and start-ups," RBI said.

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