The Indian government is exploring “multiple commercial uses and not just financial inclusion” for its central bank digital currency. India’s finance minister clarified that the goal is for the digital rupee, backed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to be issued by 2023.
India’s finance minister on RBI-backed digital currency
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital rupee, at a business roundtable on Investing in India’s Digital Revolution in San Francisco this week.
The event was organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group based in India. The host was the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
The finance minister reiterated that the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intend to launch India’s central bank digital currency in 2023, describing:
The government and RBI are investigating the various commercial uses and not just financial inclusion.
She noted that financial inclusion is “largely accomplished through the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) Trinity.” The finance minister previously claimed, “The Narendra Modi government’s JAM Trinity concept has helped reach the most distant person in the country.”
Sitharaman emphasized that the Indian government maintains a consistent digital push across all industries. She stressed: “In the Union budget, the central bank digital currency, digital banks and digital university were announced. There is a continuous digital push from government across all sectors.”
The finance minister stated during her budget speech that the launch of a central bank digital currency will give a big boost to the country’s digital economy, stating:
Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is working on the country’s crypto policy. The finance minister said this week that the decision would not be rushed. RBI Deputy Governor T. Rabi Sankar said the central bank will roll out a digital rupee “in a very calibrated, phased manner, assessing the impact across the board.”
Treasury Department officials are also discussing crypto regulation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
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