Google, MeitY team up to boost India's digital payments ecosystem

The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has roped in Google India as technology partner to plug security loopholes in the digital payment ecosystem, amidst increasing instances of data breaches and fraudulent transactions.

The joint initiatives in various areas, including digital payments and digital skills, are expected to create new opportunities for Indians in the fast-growing digital payments ecosystem.

The initiative aims to make e-payments more secure and impart more skills to students as well as developers. Aruna Sundarajan, MeitY secretary, and Rajan Anandan, VP South East Asia and India, Google, made the announcement at an event in New Delhi.

Google is trying to maximise the use of Android platform as most Indians use mobile to access the internet and the country has the potential to become a leader in mobile app technology.

Google has announced an Android Skilling programme that aims to train 2 million developers in the country.

The initiative includes the development of a specially-designed instructor-led training programme. The tech major will also extend the course to the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT). The institute will, in turn, train more than one lakh developers and students through its network of centres.

Google will partner Data Security Council of India (DSCI) to support the formation of a 'Digital Payments Security Alliance' that will also include stakeholders such as banks, FinTech companies and the government. It will look to create awareness of the best security practices for mobile and digital payments in the country.

"We are delighted to support Honourable PM Modi's vision of creating a 'New india' where technology unleashes a wave of new opportunities. We are committed to and look forward to working with MeitY across these broad range of initiatives and help every Indian to leverage the power of the Internet," said Rajan Anandan, vice president of Southeast Asia and India at Google.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on his visit to India in January had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had offered to support the country in building a more secure digital infrastructure.

The government has been engaged in the promotion of digital payments after it banned large currency bills of Rs500 and Rs1,000 in November last year.

However, experts and several industry watchers opined that the government was ill prepared in terms of ensuring security standards in digital payments were up to the mark.

The government ids now looking at introducing rules for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) such as Paytm which are increasingly driving digital payments in the country. MeitY has floated its draft rules for regulating PPIs while the RBI too has mandated some guidelines to ensure safety of a user's money.

Google is already partnering with the government to provide free Wi-Fi access to millions of Indians at 300 railway stations across the country.

Besides, the partnership aims to expand the government's online presence, especially on mobile platforms, to enable citizen engagement and training and capacity building programmes on digital tools.

Google is in the process of building products that perform even is low connectivity areas so as to bring fast, high-quality Internet access to rural India. Google also plans to increase internet usage amongst women in rural India and skills development for developers and small manufacturing businesses (SMBs).

Google, which is already providing training to SMBs with its Digital Unlocked programme, will extend the training to 1 lakh artisans in the country each year to help them tap into new markets like the internet, where they can get higher visibility.

Handicrafts is the second largest source of employment in the country after agriculture. Providing employment to more than 7 million artisans.