Lead Story

For A Slice Of The UPI(E)

Indigenous, innovative, popular: The three adjectives have rarely been used together earlier for an Indian product, but UPI has changed this perception. This is the foundation of India’s digital economy that the world wants to replicate and private players want to profit from. The government is in a fix though

Shambhu is a 40-year-old street hawker in Delhi’s Safdurjung Enclave. With an annual income of about Rs 1.2 lakh (around $1,500), his earning is less than India’s per capita income of $2,100. Notwithstanding his economic status, his customers pay him using one of the many apps built on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform by scanning a QR code that he displays prominently above the goods kept on his cart. The UPI is an indigenously developed digital payment platform, whose technological breakthrough has opened immense possibilities for India, and the developing world, for formalising financial transactions in a cash-heavy economy. More than 90% of India’s workforce is employed in the informal sector. However, the informal nature of their employment does not stop the poor and not-so-tech-savvy people from using QR codes to make and receive payments for their everyday financial activities.