The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is planning to award the licences for New Umbrella Entity (NUE), a national payments infrastructure that would rival National Payments Corp of India, by November this year, two people close to the development said.
NUE is a sought out licence and some of the top Indian groups and banks are in the fray for the licence. Six consortiums, including those led by
, Tata Group, Axis-ICICI Bank, Paytm, India Post and fintech startup iserveU, had submitted applications to the central bank in April.
RBI was earlier expected to award the licences by June end.
“RBI reached out to us and conveyed that this (announcement of licences) would only be possible by November end,” said a senior executive in one of the consortiums.
Another person close to another consortium that has applied for the licence confirmed this to ET.
“The RBI’s priority seems to be handling the economy following the Covid second wave. This was expected but we want clarity as to whether all the consortiums are still in the fray or some of them have been rejected,” he said.
RBI did not respond to an email questionnaire.
An NUE licence can help the entity gain greater autonomy in processing digital payments in India. It will help companies establish a firm presence in the financial services ecosystem through value-added lending and insurance services, say industry trackers. With NUE, the government hopes to build a settlement system similar to a Unified Payments Interface.
The system would be focussed on small and medium enterprises, merchants and consumers.
The RBI in August 2020 issued guidelines for creating a “for profit NUEs”. The RBI wants corporates to create NUEs with an aim to foster competition and “de-risk” India’s burgeoning digital payments ecosystem where much of the settlement burden has fallen on the non-profit NPCI over recent years, ET first reported in April.
People in the know say the RBI may give licences to two players in the first phase. Insiders say some of the consortiums had also reached out to the central bank in May and asked if setting up data centres in India was mandatory.