How Can FinTech Shape a New India?
Dream for India?
• Personal dream is irrelevant because India is going to wow the world
in the next 25 years by being an achiever in a democratic, inclusive
and technically-savvy manner.
• The magical moment for India was the UPI moment. When the UPI
and Aadhar were launched, the world sat up and took notice because
nothing of that sort had taken place in terms of technology and scale
anywhere else in the world. Now with the Atal Digital Mission and the
account aggregator framework, India is putting together a framework
for the future which no one else in the world is doing.
• India has always had the entrepreneurial and professional talent. The
world has shopped from here – doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs.
The number of global technology giants being led by Indians is case
• India will grow. The question is how will each of us engage with
On the Policy Bazaar Journey –
• Became an entrepreneur because could not find a job. This is true for
many first-generation entrepreneurs the world over.
• But there was also a latent desire to do something in the space of
• There’s a dearth of health and life insurance in the country. This
affects the middle class the most, because an insurance is their safety
net. India is not affluent enough to offer its citizens social security
of any consequence. Very few countries can offer it. Therefore, saw
insurance as a big opportunity.
• Felt it was important to help the middle class understand insurance
and make informed choices.
Difficulties in educating the middle class on insurance and finance –
• Tough task in bring about behaviour change in the middle class
especially in the context of health insurance. Traditionally Indian
society is frugal and is also historically rooted in scarcity. People are
not keen to spend about ten to twenty thousand rupees on premium
every year for an insurance which they are unlikely to claim every year.
• The realisation has to set in among people that they need insurance,
it is statistically proven. It is important to message and communicate
this correctly. We use TV as a medium of communication because
it works best. We are now exploring mechanisms for one-to-one
Technology differentiator in the space?
• There are two kinds of products -desired products and intent products.
Desired products are what people understand and are comfortable
buying. They are mandatories like car insurance, life insurance and
others. We deploy technology here to make the purchase smooth.
The data and processes that inform a purchase decision have to be
in place and working, technology is definitely a gamechanger there
• The intent category on the other hand is about products that are a
latent need but the consumer has not recognized the need or fed it.
Such products have push back
• back because people don’t prioritise it or understand its potential.
There has to be considerable investment in building up the intent to
purchase. Technology cannot play the primary role here, that would
belong to marketing communication.
• There will always be two parts to fintech consumer conviction and
technology. Technology without consumer intent o buy will be of
little use. Technology cannot convince you to buy, it can make the
decision making and buying process easier.
Addressing the challenges of consumer demands –
• The first thing is to be very straightforward about the product and
what it brings to the table. In a financial product it is important to
set expectations right. For example, it is impossible for the middle
class in India to access quality healthcare without an insurance. The
average daily cost in any reputed healthcare facility is 30 thousand.
That is the average household income in many middle-class households. So, however harsh it may sound, the consumer has to hear it
as it is and then decide in favour of the product. That is the only way
to meet consumer needs and wants in a fair manner.
Technology is creating disruptions in multiple ways. What should
India’s stand be going forward?
• Intent is key. All technologies have positive potential. How and for
what technology is deployed, determines whether it is good or bad.
Intent is difficult to gauge. Technology should always be your slave
not your master because technology has no heart. It will go whichever
way it is pushed.
• In insurance, specifically, technology can play a very important role
in bettering the claims and therefore the insurance experience. If
India wants to grow the insurance sector it must definitely leverage
technology to build a strong on boarding as well as e-claims platform.
• There has to be trust between the government and the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the use of technology. It is evident that that
trust is growing
Policy enablers for better insure-tech and fintech?
• Data, collected through consent, has to be available to all fintechs
and non-fintech players, for a fee. The older players should also be
given equal chance for participation in this new technology-driven
phase in the industry. Specific data allows for curated and more
Best practices around data collection and sharing that we can look at
• Every government in the world acts from its own perspective. However, Europe offers a good model in GDPR. And Europe is a good
example to follow. The largest tech players are based in the US so
Europe don’t gain too much by large players having data access.
Hence, it is pretty consumer focussed in terms of data protection while
being a large consumer market. India is similarly placed and hence
the European model makes sense. However, India is likely to come
up with more robust and tailored data consent and collection model.
• One problem that can arise is that parts of the government may
want to hold on to some data for multiple reasons, that should be
avoided. Data that is not made available loses its potential to bring
about big change.
The effect of geopolitics on the future of companies in India that have
• The government and the entrepreneurial community need to sit
down and have a serious conversation with each other. India is already at a stage where it has the basics strongly in place – the skills,
the entrepreneurial energy and the demographic advantage. There
should be nothing to hold it back from moving into the global arena.
• Global arena does not have to mean US and the Europe only. We
should consider markets like the Middle East and SE Asia. However,
today it is extremely cumbersome for an Indian entity to expand
abroad because of the consent framework.
• Today entrepreneurs who want to cater to these markets are actually
moving out and setting up hub there in order to do business. That is
undesirable from India’s point of view. Ease of business needs to be
addressed; expansion is a part of business.
• To build global, next-gen, consumer businesses, Indian companies
will have to go out and operate in foreign markets. They should be
helped to do so. We need to have confidence in our entrepreneurs
and business, we need to believe in them and their ethics.
• Globally Indian startups and Indian founders have earned respect.
Even Europe which tended to perceive India as a backward country
is quick to acknowledge the talent and intellect that underlines the
Indian entrepreneurial sector.
To build an inclusive and vibrant fintech sector –
• Government and the entrepreneurial community need to sit down
face to face and have some hard talk with the intent of recognizing
pain points and addressing them.
• The government is ready to listen and entrepreneurs are ready to
talk. There is alignment. Now, is the time for action.
• Some of the rules and policies are archaic and need to be changed.
We must change then and preferably in a time bound manner. For
example, in India we follow the Insurance Act of 1932. That is old
and dated. It needs to be updated not just now but every five years.
• it would be good to put in a place an automatic approval process, to
operate outside, for companies that are on the stock exchange. They
are fully monitored so there shouldn’t be a problem.
• We should look at smooth processes that run on trust and ethics.
When that is broken, there should be severe penalty.
• There is a strong entrepreneurial energy in India now. Given the right
policy environment great things can happen.
• Data collection and dissemination is also another area that the government can help with.
How can startups help address gaps in the insurance and other sectors –
• Any quality service provision has a certain cost. Same for quality
healthcare. NHS the most efficient healthcare system in the works
at 9% of GDP. We don’t have that system or that kind of spends on
healthcare. So, insurance has to be the cornerstone of quality healthcare for people in our country. Startups can play an enabling role here
of building awareness and educating the consumer.
• The government can help by putting the technology infrastructure
in place. It must enforce the National Digital Health Mission so that
there’s a level ground where healthcare and the Insurance sectors can
work together. Currently one sector has a regulator and the other
does not hence they can’t collaborate effectively.
• Do Indian startups in the space need to collaborate with global players?
• The world is driven by fads and trends. They come and go. The world
is starting to understand that what is happening in the insure-tech
space in India is real and grounded. Also, other countries don’t have
the opportunity India has because they have social security of different kinds. Insurance is a SE Asia opportunity. Even China does not
have this opportunity because there the government involvement
in healthcare is very high. India is uniquely place for insure-tech.
• There is no dearth of capital available for startups in India. It has all
things going for it -technology is both cheaper and better now and
there is intellectual capital and entrepreneurial zeal. If the country
provides an enabling environment there is little that can stop the
insurance-tech sector in the country from being the best in the world.
• Other markets in the world are blocked. India is the only market
where investors can put in money and retain equity. Politically India
is stable as well and likely to remain so for a long period.
Will Indians be making a difference on the ground in different parts
of the world?
• Indians are already doing that everywhere. 60% of tech startups in
the democratic world would have Indian founders. In fact, Indian
influence is visible across the spectrum – politics, business and arts.
Indians are smart, adaptive and rule-abiding people. India has a
government which has a very high intent of becoming a world leader.
These two factors, married together, can significantly increase India’s
influence on the world.
Dream for India @100
• Indians wanting to work in India. Wealthy Indians not moving their
money out. Billionaires from outside bringing their money here
because they are confident about secure growth.
• We will truly grow as a nation when successful Indians do not move
out from the risk mitigation perspective but, to help India’s growth.
And that will happen only when there is trust between the government and businesses