India confirms digital rupee CBDC to debut by 2023
India’s finance minister has confirmed that the country will introduce a digital rupee by 2023.
The central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The announcement was made by finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2022-2023 speech.
The move comes after RBI governor Shaktikanta Das revealed the central bank was expecting to conduct trials of a new CBDC towards the end of last year.
Sitharaman says the digital rupee will give a “big boost” to the digital economy and will lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system.
To further support India’s booming digital economy, the minister also unveiled a raft of measures including the setting up of 75 digital banking units across the country.
These will be managed by commercial banks across 75 districts, “to ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country in a consumer-friendly manner”.
Other measures also include plugging India’s 150,000 post offices into the country’s core banking system, boosting financial inclusion through online banking, and ongoing financial support for digital payment adoption.
The news from India comes after a House of Lords committee in the UK recently labelled a proposed digital pound a “solution in search of a problem”.
The Economic Affairs Committee cited concerns over financial stability, surveillance, and data protection.
This is despite the fact that 80% of the world’s central banks are exploring CBDC projects, alongside commercial banks, corporates, and governments in countries ranging from Switzerland to Bahrain, and Nigeria to Bhutan.