Queen Máxima visiting India to advocate digital financial services

Her Majesty Queen Máxima will visit the Republic of India on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 August 2022 in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). On 1 December 2022, India will take over the G20 presidency from Indonesia.

In New Delhi, Queen Máxima will meet with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She will also have an online meeting with Shaktikanta Das, governor of the Reserve Bank of India. A meeting has also been planned with the G20 sherpa, Amitabh Kant. A sherpa is the personal representative of a head of state or head of government who prepares an international summit. The talks will centre on how India will incorporate financial inclusion and digital economy into its G20 agenda.

At a meeting with public and private sector representatives, the Queen will discuss the development of digital public infrastructure, including secure biometric identity documents, good telecom connections, safe digital payments, data management and privacy safeguards. These are all prerequisites for good, affordable access to and secure use of financial services. Two other meetings with experts will focus on account aggregation and an open network for e-commerce. Account aggregation involves collecting data about a household’s or individual’s financial accounts in one place for the purpose of financial management and planning.

The India Stack is a digital infrastructure that has been developed in India over the past few years to connect people to an array of digital financial services. These are provided by both public and private parties. According to the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, access to financial services such as a current account, savings account, insurance and digital payments helps reduce poverty and drives economic development among low-income groups. Special attention is given to disadvantaged groups such as women and subsistence farmers. The World Bank’s most recent Global Findex Database (2021) shows that 76% of adults worldwide now hold a bank account, compared to 51% in 2011.

Queen Máxima previously visited India in her role as UNSGSA in 2014 and 2018. At the World Economic Forum in May this year, she spoke with commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal in his role of G20 sherpa, and in October 2021 she met with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the G20 summit in Rome.

Government Information Service, no. 220