SINGAPORE: Financial inclusion has become a reality for 1.3 billion Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday as he pitched India as a favourite investment destination at the Fintech Festival here.
Speaking at the world's largest event on financial technology, Modi said technology has transformed governance and delivery of public services in India and unleashed innovation, hope and opportunities.
"Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the new world and it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives," Modi said as he began his two-day visit to the country.
"It has empowered the weak and brought into mainstream those who were on the margins. It has made economic access more democratic," he said in his keynote address at the Singapore Fintech Summit.
The festival drew as many as 30,000 participants from over 100 countries in 2017.
The event involves a three-day conference, and exhibition of Fintech firms and capabilities, a global competition of Fintech solutions and a platform for matching entrepreneurs and investment capital.
Modi said the festival is a tribute to the youth of India with its eyes firmly fixed to the future.
"Financial inclusion has become reality for 1.3 billion Indians. We have generated more than 1.2 billion biometric identities- Aadhaar or foundation- in just a few years," Modi said at the event.
"The character of the global economy is changing. Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the new world. And, it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives," Modi said.
He said India is a nation of diverse circumstances and challenges.
"Our solutions must also be diverse. Our digitisation is a success because our payment products cater to everyone," he said.
"The Indian story shows six great benefits of fintech: Access, inclusion; connectivity; ease of living; opportunity; and, accountability," the prime minister said at the event.
Modi also launched APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange), a global fintech platform with Deputy PM of Singapore T Shanmugaratnam after his address at the event.
"APIX will eventually connect our companies to financial institutions globally," he said.
"Across the world, from the Indo-Pacific to Africa to Latin America, we see inspiring stories of extraordinary innovation changing ordinary lives. But, there is much to be done," he said.
Modi said the digital technology was introducing transparency and eliminating corruption through innovations such as the Government e-Marketor GEM.
"There is an explosion of fintech innovation and enterprise in India. It has turned India into a leading fintech and Startup nation in the world. The future of fintech and Industry 4. 0 is emerging in India," he said.
Modi became the first world leader to address the festival which was launched in 2016 and is in its third edition.
"It is a great honour to be the first Head of Government to deliver the keynote address at Singapore Fintech Festival," Modi said.
"We are in an age of a historic transition brought about by technology. From desktop to cloud, from Internet to social media, from IT Services to Internet of Things, we have come a long way in short time," he said.