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India needs regulatory reforms to tackle data fraud: UN

Thursday, September 14, 2017

India needs regulatory reforms to protect people against fraud and misuse of data by unscrupulous elements, United Nations' Resident Coordinator in India Yuri Afanasiev said. Current protocols for encrypted data transfer, from money to medical records, to be shared between many companies, people and institutions have raised questions on how this data will be stored and accessed by government and private entities, he said at a Conclave on Financial Inclusion organised by the UN here.

"Recent breaches only heighten these fears. These concerns warrant regulatory reforms that protect against fraud and misuse, especially for those with low financial and digital literacy," he said.

For India to herald an age of innovation that truly serves the millions who have been left behind, it must contend with issues of transactional privacy, while allowing for auditory and regulatory access, he noted.

Referring to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the world's largest financial inclusion scheme, he said there are still various challenges that are to be addressed.

"Despite the push from Indian government, as many as 60 million people still don’t have bank accounts, remote areas still don’t have a mobile phone service or 3G/4G data networks," he said.

Noting that mobile telephony minimises the need for banks to set up physical branches, Afanasiev said last-mile connectivity remains a challenge.

"Mobile-based banking services, new-technology ATMs that are biometric and/or mobile, biometric handheld devices for use by banking correspondents, and smart cards are just some examples of how technology that is available today can be used to expand financial services to the unbanked and underbanked," he said.

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