Colombo, February 12: The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi along with the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated the launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and also RuPay card services in Mauritius via video conferencing today.
President Wickremesinghe congratulated Prime Minister Modi for the consecration of Shri Ram Mandir at the Ayodhya Dham. He also emphasized the centuries-old economic relations. The President hoped to maintain the momentum of connectivity and deepening of the relationship between the two countries.
Addressing the occasion, the Prime Minister said that today marks a special day for three friendly nations of India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius when their historic connections take the form of modern digital connect. He said that it is proof of the government’s commitment towards the development of the people. The Prime Minister underlined FinTech connectivity will further strengthen cross-border transactions and connections. “India’s UPI or United Payments Interface comes in a new role today – Uniting Partners with India”, the Prime Minister emphasized.
The Prime Minister underlined that digital public infrastructure has brought about a revolutionary change in India, where the smallest of vendors in the remotest of villages are transacting via UPI and making digital payments. Speaking about the convenience and speed of UPI transactions, the Prime Minister informed that more than 100 billion transactions took place via UPI last year worth INR 2 lakh crores or 8 trillion Sri Lankan rupees or 1 trillion Mauritius rupees. The Prime Minister also mentioned making last-mile delivery through the JAM Trinity of bank accounts, Aadhar and mobile phones wherein 400 billion US dollars has been transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. He informed that with CoWin Platform India conducted the world’s biggest vaccination programme. “Use of technology is promoting transparency, reducing corruption and increasing inclusivity in society”, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister stressed that “India’s policy is ‘Neighborhood First’. Our maritime vision is SAGAR i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region. India does not see its development separately from its neighbours.”
Referring to the Vision Document that was adopted during the last visit of the Sri Lankan President, the Prime Minister highlighted the strengthening financial connectivity as its key component. The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that connection with UPI will benefit Sri Lanka and Mauritius and digital transformation will get a boost, local economies will witness positive change and tourism will be promoted. “I am confident that Indian tourists will give priority to destinations with UPI. People of Indian origin living in Sri Lanka and Mauritius and students studying there will also get special benefits from it”, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister underlined that today’s launch symbolizes the success of Global South cooperation. “Our relations are not just about transactions, it is a historical relation”, PM Modi emphasized highlighting the strength of people-to-people relations between the three nations. Drawing attention to India supporting its neighbouring friends in the last ten years, the Prime Minister said that India stands with its friends in every hour of crisis, be it natural disasters, health-related issues, economic or support on the international stage. “India has been the first responder and will continue to be so”, the Prime Minister underlined. PM Modi also highlighted the special attention towards the concerns of the Global South even during India’s G20 presidency. He mentioned setting up a Social Impact Fund to extend the benefits of India’s digital public infrastructure to countries in the Global South.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister extended his heartfelt gratitude towards President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth who played a vital role in today’s launch. He also thanked the central banks and agencies of the three countries for making this launch successful.
With guidance from the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, NPCI International Payments Limited of India and Lanka Pay of Sri Lanka have collaborated for enabling the acceptance of UPI services through LankaQR. This will allow merchants in Sri Lanka to accept seamless digital payments from Indian tourists. Such interlinkage will generate ease among Indian tourists benefitting Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, as well as fostering greater connectivity in the FinTech and digital domain. High Commission of India also organised a live screening of the launch event, which was attended in large numbers by representatives of banks, business and Indian community in Colombo.