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Credit: PM Modi's Twitter page

Credit: PM Modi's Twitter page

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches three Indian payment apps in Singapore

On 31 May, the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi launched three Indian mobile payment apps in Singapore at a business event aimed at globalisation of the country's digital payment platforms. 

Mr Narendra Modi at the 'Business, Innovation and Community Event', where digital platform was the focus, launched three digital payment schemes, including the international debut of  Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), RuPay and a new app-based rupee remittance mode of the State Bank of India's Singapore branch.  The launch marks the collaboration of the two countries through a cross- border digital payment system.

The RuPay digital payments system is linked to Singapore's 33-year-old Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). RuPay users will be able to make payments at all NETS acceptance points across Singapore. Users of Singapore NETS will be able to make online purchases on the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) e-commerce merchant website, using 2.8 million RuPay point-of-sale terminals in India. 

Among several announcements made at the event, the Unified Payment Interfaced (UPI) was launched for the first time internationally.

During the event, the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi discussed the close cultural, political and economic relations between India and Singapore, “RuPay, BHIM and UPI; it is natural for these to be launched in Singapore. Together, we can build a great economic partnership of the new age," Mr Narendra Modi said.  

Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong noted, "We have launched initial link for our payment systems NETS and RuPay. Indian tourists will be able to use their RuPay cards for electronic payments at Changi airport and selected operators across Singapore."

The launch is likely to create a multi-billion- dollar transactions as some five million Indians travel to or stopover at Singapore, internationalising RuPay beginning with the first cross border usage. According to Mr Soma Sankara Prasad, the Country Head for SBI in Singapore, the new feature of the SBI app will benefit blue-collar workers the most. Using a Virtual Payment Address (VPA), any savings account holder at SBI Singapore can send remittances of up to IN ₹100,000 (around US $14,925). SBI has six branches in Singapore as well as Auto Teller Machines (ATMs). 

Mr Narendra Modi used the occasion to state that both the countries have been able to successfully finish the second review of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement and added, "We agreed this is not just our target and goal, but this only means to an end and officials will soon start discussing how to reform and upgrade this further."

As reported earlier, India and Singapore signed several agreements in the fields of public service, digital security, narcotics regulation and defence collaboration, including a  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) in order to strengthen financial ties.

On 3 June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, visited Indian Heritage Centre in Singapore where he bought a Madhubani painting, choosing to pay through a SBI RuPay card. "Honourable Prime Minister of India, visited the Indian Heritage Centre in Singapore, whose efforts are focused towards bringing the two great nations Singapore and India closer. He purchased a splendid Madhubani painting using an SBI RuPay card." the SBI tweeted from its official handle.

The Indian Prime Minister’s five day, three-country visit to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore came to an end in Singapore on Saturday.

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