According to the Economic Times newspaper, which cited unnamed sources, India’s conglomerate Reliance Industries has partnered with Facebook Inc, Google, and fintech player Infibeam to establish a national digital payment network.
As part of its efforts to reduce risks in the room, the Reserve Bank of India invited companies to form new umbrella entities (NUEs) to establish a payments network that would compete with the National Payments Council of India (NPCI).
NPCI was established in 2008 as a non-profit organization with dozens of banks as shareholders as of March 2019, including the State Bank of India, Citibank, and HSBC. Inter-bank fund transfers, ATM transactions, and digital payments are among the facilities it offers on a regular basis, handling billions of dollars in payments.
The group led by Reliance and Infibeam was in the advanced stages of sending their proposal to the RBI, according to India’s leading business daily Economic Times, citing three unnamed sources.
Infibeam’s spokesperson refused to comment on the article, citing the process’s strict confidentiality, while Reliance, Google, and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to a 2019 Assocham-PWC India report, digital payments in India could reach $135.2 billion by 2023.
Facebook and Google are both partners with Reliance and have shares in Jio Platforms, which houses Reliance’s music and movie apps as well as its telecoms business.
The RBI extended the deadline for all parties to send NUE applications from February 26 to March 31 this week.
According to the paper, the RBI expects to take another six months to review all of the proposals and will not issue more than two new “for-profit” NUE licences.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not respond to a request for comment.
Other parties in the fray, according to previous media reports, include a party led by Amazon and ICICI Bank; another led by India’s salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group and private lender HDFC Bank; and a joint venture involving Paytm, domestic ride-sharing company Ola, and IndusInd Bank.