According to a recent press release from MasterCard, the global card brand has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement with Andhra Pradesh Electronic IT Agency (APEITA). The goal of this strategic partnership? To promote, stabilize and drive cashless commerce as the future of Andhra Pradesh – a state bordering India’s southeastern coast.
As stated by MasterCard, an overview of key offerings detailed in the MoU include:
Educate on cybersecurity: As part of the card brand’s agreement to educate the state on the best practices required to form a cashless society, MasterCard will conduct a conference on cybersecurity in Q1 of 2018. According to the press release, this will “help the state secure their digital assets as part of the Prime Minister’s Digital India vision.”
Develop a farmer marketplace solution: The goal here is to increase efficiency and ease when it comes to the buying and selling of crops. This includes expanding both market reach and financial capabilities for small farmers through the digitization of the marketplace.
Collaborate on smart transit solutions: These will be offered to make daily commuting more efficient. According to Ajay Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard, the plan is to “build on six transit programs in India, with interoperable open platform, which means ease and accessibility for people using more than one mode of transportation.”
Educate on financial and digital literacy: A program will be created at a leading university to educate the state on the tools necessary to support the shared vision of Andhra Pradesh developing into “a model for digital payments excellence.”
When asked to comment on this recent development, MasterCard quotes Shri Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, as saying “this association with MasterCard draws us closer to our goal of making Andhra Pradesh a hub for IT and Internet of Things (IoT) in the coming years.”
And this isn’t the only major card brand reporting news on Andhra Pradesh. Visa and the Government of Andhra Pradesh also announced the recent digitization of dominant state-owned service providers as part of the Vizag Digital Dhan Sankalp (VDDS) project – a publicized push towards cashless commerce.
As a result of this recent initiative, more than 90 percent of the population can now take advantage of digital payment-enabled services that include property and water tax, bus services, utility services and some tourist-related expenditures.
The press release issued by Visa quotes Shri Lokesh Nara – Hon’ IT Minister, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh as saying, “Digitization of transactions will lead to a reduction of costs and improved convenience for all stakeholders involved, as we continue to realize our vision of making Vizag, India’s first less–cash city and the FinTech Valley of India. Key to our mission will be working closely with citizens, and the industry ecosystem, to tap innovative and meaningful digital experiences and deliver better value to citizens.”