Building Evidence on India’s DPI
The workshop, co-hosted by the World Bank, Sahamati, and the Center for Digital Public Infrastructure (CDPI), aimed to kick-start impact assessment exercises in the AA Ecosystem to track progress regularly, with a lens of ‘access to credit.’ The event gathered prominent participants, including international economists, researchers, government officials, and industry players in the AA ecosystem. Distinguished researchers from institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, IMF, and others attended. The event featured keynote addresses by V. Anantha Nageswaran, India’s Chief Economic Advisor, Auguste Tano Kouame, World Bank’s India country director, and Bill Roberts, the former head of the UK Open Banking Competition and Markets Authority.
Keynote Speakers’ Remarks
Keynote speakers at the workshop, Anantha Nageswaran and Auguste Tano Kouame, underscored the importance of impact assessments for India’s Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA). Nageswaran highlighted the Indian government’s strong support for data collection, particularly with its G20 presidency. Kouame shared a compelling story of a local farmer accessing loans through his phone, emphasizing the inclusive potential of Account Aggregators (AAs). Bill Roberts noted that India’s collaboration-focused ecosystem contrasts with the West’s competition-driven mentality, enabling such financial innovations.
A panel discussion from market participants shed light on the potential impact of AAs, ranging from– improved access to small loans for individuals and SMEs by reducing costs, enhanced transparency, and increased accountability. At the same time, AAs can also empower large banks to provide credit to smaller players in the ecosystem. The panel emphasized the importance of real-time access to income sources and monitoring, highlighting how AAs provide this vital information to lenders, enhancing the lending process.
Following the 2-day event, the economists submitted six research proposals focusing on rigorous econometric analysis, covering the impact of Account Aggregators (AAs) on supply chain financing, SMEs’ access to credit, and the effect of GST on AAs. To advance their research, the economists have requested specific data and partnerships, including a policy amendment to refine Account Aggregator specifications for effectively tracking various types of loans and financial services via AAs. They’ve also sought cooperation from the ten largest lender Financial Information Users (FIUs), willing to share data over an extended period to facilitate comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of AA’s role in enhancing access to credit.