Washington: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday spoke at length on DPI (Digital Public Infrastructure), underlining how India, during the last couple of years, has seen its contribution to targeted quick, efficient and inclusive service delivery through innovative methods.

Speaking as a Keynote Speaker at "India's Digital Public Infrastructure - Stacking Up the Benefits", organised by IMF on how public and private sectors can work together on DPI in Washington, Sitharaman said that because of the numerous macroeconomic and pandemic-related difficulties in the present times, examples accessible demonstrate the DPI's potential to benefit both the public and private sectors.

"As we are dealing with multiple challenges in macroeconomics and pandemic-related ones. available instances show that the potential of DPI to contribute to both public and private sectors is both enormous and can transform the development trajectory of the country even under difficult times. In India, during the last couple of years, we have seen how DPI (Digital Public Infrastructure) can contribute to targeted quick and efficient and inclusive service delivery through innovative methods," the Union Finance Minister said during her keynote address.

Moreover, Sitharaman also emphasised digital identity and said that digital payments and consent-based data sharing have helped India to improve governance, bring ease of doing business and enable ease of living for the people of the country.

She said that India's DPI-based direct benefit transfer systems have aided about 650 million people who received 322 billion USD directly into their accounts, leading to overall savings of more than 27 billion USD just across key central government services, and schemes.

"Leveraging the potential of identity and payments through DPI alone, India's record opening of 462.5 million low-cost bank accounts with 56 pc account holders being women. This has enabled us to transform the govt service delivery by building the world's largest direct benefit transfer systems," Sitharaman added.

Due to the consent-based data exchange framework, the cost of loan processing is estimated to have declined by almost 75 per cent. Lowering such transaction costs for the public and private sectors alike ensures the onboarding of more people into the formal financial system and therefore more inclusion, the Union Finance Minister said further during her address in Washington as she laid focus on Digital Public Infrastructure and its benefits.

Asserting how the DPI has shown its potential during the pandemic, Nirmala Sitharaman said about 4.5 billion USD was transferred during the COVID pandemic directly into the bank accounts of 160 million beneficiaries.

"Not only this, India's pandemic recovery efforts were greatly supported by the development of COWIN, an app which is based on DPI which we were able to deliver over 2 billion dosages of vaccines, this demonstrates the evolutionary power of DPI which the stack is common but the new scalable solutions evolve and can be developed on the common stack to deal effectively with unforeseen situations, " she added.

Speaking on AADHAR, the finance minister noted through this, the e-KYC has also brought down the cost of verification leading to savings in the cost of customer acquisition.

She said, "AADHAR, through which the e-KYC has also brought down the cost of verification leading to savings in cost for customer acquisition from 500-700 rs which is 6 to 9 USD per person to 3 rupees... in Indian rupees that is, which is 0.4 cents. That is the cost of acquisition today."

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday (local time) also met Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland on the sidelines of the 2023 Spring Meetings of World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"Union FM Smt. @nsitharaman and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ms Chrystia Freeland @cafreeland met on the sidelines of the @IMFNews-@WorldBank #SpringMeetings2023, in Washington D.C., today," tweeted the Ministry of Finance.

Both leaders agreed that ministerial-level financial dialogue should be held at the earliest between the two nations.

"Both leaders concurred that the 2-pillar solution on #InternationalTaxation is simultaneously implemented at the earliest & expressed a strong commitment to both pillars of this international tax deal. FM also encouraged investment flows from Canada into GIFT IFSC @GIFTCity_," tweeted the Ministry of Finance.

Meanwhile, the Indian FM also attended the Restricted Breakfast Meeting of the IMF Board of Governors at IMF Headquarters in Washington DC, today.

"In the spirit of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' One Earth, One Family, One Future, FM Smt.@nsitharaman said that collective efforts of all #G20 members will have a significant impact on the global economy while fostering multilateralism leading to a better future for all," tweeted the ministry.

She expressed concern with regard to financial instability and subdued global economic outlook, volatile commodity prices and inflation.

"FM Smt. @nsitharaman emphasised the need for effective fiscal-monetary policy calibration and sustained structural reforms, with a focus on restoring growth, especially in low-income and debt-burdened countries at the earliest #DebtRelief," tweeted the ministry.

While concluding her intervention, the Union Finance Minister called for fortifying the role of IMF and also called for a successful conclusion to the 16th General Review of Quotas (GRQ).