by Noah D'Mello

Raghuram Rajan’s lasting tech legacy

Jun 19, 2016
BusinessFinancial Services IndustryGovernment

The news about RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s decision to step down at the end of his term in September has been trending everywhere, both nationally and internationally. Let us look at the tech legacy of Rajan—also lauded by the media as “Rock star”—that will have a lasting impression on the Indian economy.

Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor, announced that his journey as India’s banking head would end in September 2016. Stories on the reason for his departure range from criticism that Rajan has begun straying into politics to the very vocal Subramanian Swamy.

Now, one of India’s finest central bankers is shifting gears from managing the country’s economy and going back to academia. Credited with reducing inflation levels in India and stabilizing the currency, Rajan boasts of several other achievements under his belt. But while everybody knows about what he has done for the economy, few know how he has used tech to achieve his aims.

Here’s a list of some of the technological accomplishments under Rajan’s three-year term:

Unified payments interface: UPI was started with the aim of achieving a cashless society. This app does away with third-party payments and you will no longer need to know the receiver’s bank IFSC code and other account details. All you need is the recipient’s unique ID number, which would make money transfer ranging from Rs. 50 to Rs. 1 lakh a cakewalk. Currently, 29 banks are part of the UPI network. “What we have in India is the most sophisticated public payments infrastructure in the world. (But) It is not just the payments that are part of the revolution; it is a whole new set of banks that are coming in,” Rajan said during the launch of UPI.Bharat Bill Payment System: Rajan also made bill payments easy with the introduction of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). This integrated bill payment system offers interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers. Simply put, customers can pay all their bills online at one location. The system, likely to be rolled out in July, will be managed and operated by National Payment Corporations of India.Revision of Prepaid Payment Instrument guidelines: In December 2014, Rajan smoothened the retail payments system in India by revising the guidelines of Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI). This policy revision enabled the functioning of mobile wallets and smart cards.Cybersecurity in banks: Rajan understood the danger of cyber-threats. Under his leadership, cybersecurity in banks got a push. Rajan urged banks to view the cybersecurity policy as distinct from the broader IT policy/IS security policy of a bank. According to the mandate, Rajan also highlighted the need for a Board-approved cybersecurity policy.