Vineet Das reveals why it’s vital to democratise fintech
At TechSparks 2023, Vineet Das, Head of Online Product at Plural By Pine Labs, in his keynote address, provided insights into India's digital advancement, a rapidly evolving fintech landscape, and the need for democratisation.
At TechSparks 2023, India’s most influential startup-tech summit, Vineet Das, Head of Online Product at Plural By, offered a clear perspective on the country’s digital progress and the evolving landscape of fintech.
Beyond the data and methodologies, Das unfolded the story of India's digital revolution and the path to democratising fintech for all.
In an era where the term 'fintech' often gets relegated to boardroom discussions and investor presentations, Das's keynote brought it back to where it truly matters – to the bustling streets of Mumbai, the verdant villages of Kerala, and the hilly terrains of Himachal.
“India is number one in the digital identity programme with about 1.3 billion Aadhaar enrolments," said Das, setting the tone for a discourse that would encompass both our achievements and the road ahead.
Government initiatives: the backbone of fintech growth
The cornerstone of India's digital transformation, according to Das, is the government's role in building a digital public infrastructure. “Basically, this is the government of India initiative, right? I'm in the digital public infrastructure, where you have just cheaper and pocket-friendly phones, you have a lot of identification layers where you don't have to fill in long forms for your IoT. There is a DigiLocker, where you can store all your government documents for easy sharing with scan and pay using UPI,” he said.
Challenges in fintech accessibility
Despite the impressive growth and innovation, Das acknowledged the challenges. "There is still a large section without access to fintech," he noted.
Access to credit remains a significant challenge, with a considerable gap between supply and demand. "Out of the 800 plus users who have internet access, only 10 to 15 million users are power users, right? I mean, who are actually in the urban areas and do shopping across various sectors,” he said.
To make fintech services accessible to a broader audience, the focus needs to shift. “Penetration in rural areas is less than 5%. Does it mean that it's not going to happen? What is the growth opportunity for fintech to be available and accessible to all?” he asked, his words hinting at the untapped potential in semi-urban and rural areas.
Positive growth trends
Despite the challenges, Das conveyed optimism for the future. "We are seeing a lot of shifts. A lot of reports suggest there is going to be a 5x growth in consumption itself by FY 30,” he said.
This positive outlook is backed by the growth of fintech products and services, which are set to attract even more consumers.
The role of data in fintech
Data-driven solutions are at the heart of expanding fintech accessibility. Das said with more use cases, there will be a lot of data that will enable new use cases and enable banks to lend even further.
Data analytics and artificial intelligence are poised to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered, making them more accessible and efficient.
One of the key takeaways from the keynote was the multitude of fintech innovations on the horizon. Das introduced the audience to concepts like Buy Now Pay Later, robo advisory, wealth management, and micro-savings solutions.
"So, there is a lot [and] because of the whole Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), a lot of this is actually getting enabled for us without us knowing,” he said. These innovations are not only making saving and investing easier but are also contributing to democratising fintech.
A collective effort
Das emphasised that democratising fintech is a collaborative effort, and pointed to the need for customer-centric innovation, data exposure, and ecosystem collaborations.
“A lot of ecosystems are at play; all of this is making this happen,” he said, and asked for increased collaboration. "We are always looking for people to collaborate with so that we can further our mission of democratising fintech for the people of India."
In conclusion, Das's keynote address at TechSparks 2023 provided a comprehensive overview of India's digital revolution and the role of fintech in this transformative journey. He not only highlighted challenges but also presented a clear vision of a future where fintech is accessible to all. With data-driven solutions, innovative products, and collaborative efforts, India is poised to make fintech truly democratic.
As Das aptly said: “Democratising fintech is not a sales pitch or a hiring pitch; it's a mission. This mission is not only that of Pine Labs but one that involves the entire fintech industry and stakeholders working together to make financial services accessible to every Indian, regardless of location or economic status.”