Make the digital rupee anonymous: Nandan Nilekani


According to Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, India’s proposed digital rupee should remain “anonymous” since concerns about monitoring will arise if all payment transactions are logged and accessible.

The 66-year-old technocrat, who is also the prime architect of the biometrics-based unique identity program, pointed out that while the country will achieve a global first with the launch of its central bank digital currency, existing technology and infrastructure rails such as the Unified Payments Interface and Aadhaar will “accelerate” its launch.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also proposed last week that revenue from virtual digital assets (VDAs) be taxed at a rate of 30%, effective April 1. Gains from bitcoin transactions and assets such as non-fungible tokens will be included.

In terms of “recognizing the concept of digital assets” and taxing them at 30%, Nilekani believes India is “doing the right things.” In some ways, India has acknowledged that cryptos are not currencies, describing them as “more like commodities, as they store value, which you can purchase and sell,” he said.

According to Nilekani, India’s foresight in recognizing that stable coins can be weak links in the chain and issuing a CBDC is a “positive thing,” whereas stable currencies in the US, for example, are based on dollars.

Globally, the rising digitization of economies is posing a huge problem as countries seek to strike a balance between permitting some privacy in electronic payments while maintaining regulatory compliance.

“I believe the digital rupee should be anonymous,” Nilekani added, “because one of the worries is that if all money transactions are recorded and accessible, it creates other monitoring difficulties.”

The digital rupee architecture, according to Nilekani, would lead to comparable advances at the front end. Nilekani has championed the construction of several open technology networks that start-ups and technology corporations are utilizing to further innovation.

The non-executive chairman of India’s second-largest software exporter claimed Infosys’ role as “the bellwether of the industry” has been regained as the company has grown at “market-leading rates” in recent years.

Last month, Infosys, which has outperformed its rivals, including larger rival Tata Consultancy Services, raised its annual sales prediction by three percentage points, predicting revenue growth of 19.5 percent to 20 percent in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31.

According to analysts, sustained investments have helped Infosys gain market share over the previous four years as clients have increased spending on digital technology to modernize their organizations.

Salil Parekh, whom he described as a “terrific CEO leading from the front,” said Infosys now has market-leading growth rates and its offers have been aligned with market needs.

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