The Department of Posts and the public sector bank India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) recently launched DakPay, a new digital payment application.
The move is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to provide and promote digital financial inclusion across the country. The Union Minister for Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, noted that it is a unique concept where one can order and avail postal financial services at doorsteps. He expects it to make banking services and postal products more accessible.
According to news reports, DakPay offers a host of digital financial and assisted banking services available through the postal network. It aims to cater to the financial needs of various sections of society, particularly those living in rural areas. The services include free-of-cost money receipts and transfers at doorsteps and scanned QR codes to make payments for a range of utility and banking services.
DakPay will bring simplified payment solutions to all by providing access to banking and payment products and services either through an application or in an assisted mode with the help of postmen and women.
Through it, India Post will deliver the following facilities:
- checking bank balances
- enabling transactions through multiple bank accounts
- a payment facility through the IPPB mobile banking application for postal products that are paid for by the DakPay virtual debit card
- cash withdrawals and deposits using the Aadhaar-enabled payment system
The government is also contemplating a provision for credit facilities. The IPPB was launched on 1 September 2018. It has enabled over 136,000 post offices, of which more than 113,000 are located in rural India, to provide a complete suite of banking services. About 180,000 postmen and women, and Gramin Dak Sevaks, have been equipped with smartphones and biometric devices to provide doorstep banking services, the report noted.
By November-end, DakPay had 39 million customers. All IPPB service channels are available in 13 languages. The Department of Posts also signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited to set up common service centres in more than 10,000 post offices. The centres will deliver over 100 services.
The Reserve Bank of India recently said it plans to secure online payment processes, a step toward preventing and reducing fraud. It announced its new measures to secure digital payment channels via the proposed Digital Payment Security Controls Directions, 2020.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the project is for regulated entities to set up a robust governance structure for systems and to implement common minimum standards of security controls for channels like the Internet, mobile banking, and card payments, among others.
While the guidelines will be technology and platform agnostic, it will create an enhanced and enabling environment for customers to use digital payment products more safely and securely. The RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, explained that the directions will contain requirements for strong governance, implementation, and monitoring of certain minimum standards on common security controls.
Furthermore, to strengthen and improve the efficacy of the internal grievance redress mechanism of the banks and to provide better customer service, RBI has decided to put in place a comprehensive framework comprising inter-alia of enhanced disclosures on customer complaints by banks. Also, a monetary disincentive in the form of recovery of the cost of redress of complaints from banks when maintainable complaints are comparatively high.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the lead agency in Malaysia’s digital transformation, welcomed the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) 2021 first-quarter GDP report which saw better performance than previous quarters with key economic indicators showing improvement.
MDEC reiterated its commitment to strengthening its working relationship with various ministries and agencies especially in the digital economy sector which has shown strong growth in this new norm. It will continue to play an active role in boosting the country’s competitiveness by enhancing digitalisation initiatives and digital skills of the workforce in line with the government’s five key focus areas to drive the nation’s recovery.
This is being implemented through various initiatives to drive digital adoption for micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as to improve the digital skills of the people through public-private partnership programs which include the Premier Digital Technology Institution (PDTI), Industrial Skills Framework (IndSF), Digital Skills Training Directory for working professionals and a data technology collaboration program with technology giants.
These programs were introduced to accelerate the development of digital talents as part of MDEC’s efforts to push Malaysia to make the digital leap into the era of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0). The National Council of Digital Economy and 4IR (MED4IR) chaired by the Prime Minister recently endorsed the formation of the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap (NESR) 2.0 Taskforce following the achievements of NESR 1.0. MDEC has been entrusted to lead the Project Management Office of the NESR 2.0 Taskforce with the mandate to oversee the successful implementation of NESR 2.0.
A total of 639 organisations and individuals were engaged as part of MDEC’s primary market research work in the development of NESR 2.0. carried out in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. This included 196 companies, 18 industry associations, 40 Government Ministries and agencies.
NESR 2.0 will be guided by three overarching objectives, namely; to intensify eCommerce adoption and growth, to enhance ecosystem development and to strengthen policy and regulatory environment.
MDEC notes that Malaysia remains one of the top investment destinations in the region, receiving foreign direct investments (FDI) worth RM81.9 billion in high-quality investments involving technology, innovation, green technology and financial technology sectors. These inflows have enabled more employment opportunities for the local skilled workforce, in line with Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) as outlined by the government.
In this area, MDEC has announced a collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to facilitate investment efforts related to the digital sector through the establishment of the Digital Investment Office (DIO), a fully digital collaborative platform to coordinate and facilitate all digital investments.
The objective of this endeavour is not only to create awareness of digital investments in the country but to also strengthen the coordination among all Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in promoting and attracting new investments in our nation’s digital economy.
The first-quarter GDP report presented by the Minister of Finance, YB Datuk Seri Utama Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz saw the online retail sales index register a growth of 18.3 per cent year-on-year. At the close of 2020, 489,000 MSME adopted eCommerce while 378,000 SME were trained to utilise the eCommerce platform. Companies using eCommerce for export grew exponentially from 1,800 to 27,000. The sector also attracted investment worth RM1.5 billion for the establishment of regional eFullfilment hubs.
MDEC will continue to focus on driving the adoption of digital technologies among SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs and this initiative has clearly shown results as Malaysia is poised to maintain its position as one of the top eCommerce markets in ASEAN, with gross merchandise value (GMV) expected to grow to reach a total value of US $11.4 billion in 2020, a 6% Year-on-Year increase.
In early April 2021, MDEC also rolled out the MyDigitalWorkForce Work In Tech (MYWiT) initiative, a training and hiring incentive programme aimed at boosting the digital business services sector as well as developing quality tech talents in Malaysia. The objective of the initiative is to upskill and subsidize talents and businesses with RM100 million in training and salary incentives. More than 300 companies within these sectors are expected to gain from this program while an estimated 6,000 job opportunities will be created to produce at least 1,000 quality tech talents.
MDEC will continue to lead Malaysia’s digital transformation for equitable digital economy opportunities, driving a globally competitive digital nation in line with the vision of Malaysia 5.0, a nation deeply integrated with technology that empowers inclusivity, sustainability and shared prosperity.
The Philippines’ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) revealed that it has started to grant licenses for fintech companies to operate as an official Electronic Money Issuer (EMI).
The EMI license authorises these companies to deliver e-wallet services through their mobile apps. The accreditation allows the companies to convert consumers’ cash into electronic money which they can use to transact online to pay bills, remit money, purchase mobile load, and shop for products and services in partner merchant stores.
In addition, customers can withdraw and add money to their e-wallets through online bank transfers and over-the-counter payment centres.
One fintech company said its app users can soon expect to pay over 1,000 types of bills – from utilities, insurance, government contributions and services, and more — a service that has been offered by the company through its 45,000 physical touchpoints nationwide. Other services such as QR payments, rewards, insurance, savings accounts, personal loans, and credit scoring will also be enabled, the company said.
According to BSP’s director of technology risk and innovation supervision department (TRISD), the COVID-19 pandemic became the unexpected catalyst that catapulted digital financial services to new heights as Filipinos look for convenient, safe, and efficient means to receive and transfer funds, pay bills, and shop for necessities. In response to this need, the BSP continues to provide an enabling environment that encourages financial innovation while safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system.
Also, the fintech company said it sees the digitalisation of payments as a strategic route to attracting the next-generation payers, to experience and gain the trust in digital financial services. The company said it shares BSP’s belief that online payments — being accessible, convenient, and secure — is an engine of financial inclusion and economic growth.
The company added that its digital touchpoints are the first to feature real-time posting of Meralco (electrical bills) payments through its system, enabling customers to keep track of their transactions and avoid missed deadlines.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the BSP has a vision for the country to become a digital-heavy, cash-light society to help achieve inclusive growth. According to the BSP, 50% or half of all transactions should be digital by 2023, and 70% of Filipino adults should have formal bank accounts by 2023.
The BSP expects a further surge in the use of digital platforms for payments and in the number of Filipino adults with financial accounts over the near term, highlighting that the BSP is on track with its financial inclusion and digitalisation goals. They also recognise the importance of the country’s National ID System (PhilSys), in which mass registration is ongoing. This will help facilitate the Philippines’ digitalisation and financial inclusion goals. The PhilSys will squarely address the problem of lack of formal IDs among the marginalised, which is a major barrier for them to open a bank or financial accounts, the BSP added.
Accordingly, the BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020-2023 (DPTR) says that the BSP’s thrust to promote financial inclusion and digitalisation of payments is mutually reinforcing: they go together, each enabling the other. With the sudden onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the shift towards digital payments has become imperative as physical distancing rules become the norm under the “New Economy” environment. By using digital payments with due care and vigilance, Filipinos reduce the need for mobility and prevent health risks from face-to-face and over the counter (OTC) financial transactions. The greater usage of digital payments will also facilitate the growth of Fintech businesses engaged in e-commerce businesses as the consumption of goods and services is increasingly driven by online purchases.
The Government of Western Australia is collaborating with an Australian medical technology company and is investing $400,000 into local businesses to boost Medical Technology and Pharmaceutical manufacturing (MTP) through the $16.7 million New Industries Fund.
The new program aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of the company’s products in Western Australia, such as medical devices, diagnostics, biologics and pharmaceuticals. Grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 will capitalise on WA’s significant capability in the MedTech firm’s research to grow the sector and generate new job opportunities.
The program is being delivered by the MedTech firm’s WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, which is co-funded through the WA Government’s New Industries Fund, industry growth centre the company’s and The University of Western Australia. The New Industries Fund was established to support and accelerate new and emerging businesses to diversify the Western Australian economy and create local jobs.
Applications for the WA MTP Manufacturing Voucher Program close at noon, Monday, 7 June 2021. The program requires at least a 1:1 matching cash contribution from applicants. The WA Minister Innovation and ICT Minister stated, “WA is home to some exciting and innovative life sciences companies, and the McGowan Government is supporting these companies to begin manufacturing their technology locally.
The new Manufacturing Voucher Program will enable more WA small and medium enterprises to get their products to market while diversifying our economy and creating more jobs. Businesses looking to manufacture their medical technology or pharmaceuticals locally are strongly encouraged to apply for matched funding through this exciting new program.”
The WA Science Minister stated that since the start of the pandemic, the Government has seen first-hand the importance of local medical technology and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Between 2017 and 2019 the number of life sciences companies in Western Australia increased by more than 50 per cent, a clear indication of the growth of the sector. Through this Manufacturing Voucher Program, the aim is to support more Western Australian businesses to continue their growth in the industry and begin manufacturing their products right here in WA.
In an earlier press release, the WA Government announced that it is helping start-ups and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) turn big ideas into local job opportunities, with the 2021-22 round of the Innovation Vouchers Program.
Worth up to $20,000 each, the vouchers help early-stage businesses access the professional skills and services they need to advance their ideas or commercial activities in Western Australia. The vouchers provide support in one of four categories: research and development, product development, technology transfer/intellectual property or commercialisation support.
Since the start of the program in 2011, the WA Government has awarded 178 vouchers worth approximately $3.3 million to promising early-stage businesses. Success stories include local foetal monitoring device company VitalTrace, which received a $20,000 voucher in 2017 and since then has grown from two employees to 16 employees and raised $1.3 million in the capital. It has three patents underway, with another five planned.
Applications for the 2021 Innovation Vouchers Program close on May 25, 2021. Recipients must co-contribute at least 20 per cent of their voucher funding to be eligible. For example, a $25,000 package includes a $20,000 voucher and a $5,000 co-contribution from the recipient.
China held the 18th meeting of the national leading group on reform of the scientific and technological system and building of an innovation system in Beijing. China’s economic and social development requires great and urgent efforts in scientific and technological innovation due to profound changes in both domestic and international environments
Stressing the core position of innovation in China’s modernisation drive, they called for a thorough understanding of the key role of scientific and technological innovation in high-quality development and the new development paradigm. Member units of the group and related departments should take solid steps in advancing scientific and technological innovation over the next five years to help China become a leading innovation-driven nation and embark on a new journey toward a modern socialist country.
In compiling the national scientific and technological innovation plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, it was determined that attention should be paid to shoring up weak links and strengthening the foundation within a good strategic blueprint. According to an article, the 14th Five-Year Plan elevates innovation and technology development to core national priorities and critical to achieving technological self-reliance. This marks a significant shift in priorities towards industrial and national security, as well as reduced reliance on imported technologies.
Investment in technology will go into overdrive and will undoubtedly focus on frontier fields that have already been highlighted for further exploration: artificial intelligence, quantum information, integrated circuits, life and health science, neuroscience, genetics, deep earth and sea exploration, and aerospace technology. There also will be measures to encourage traditional sectors to move up the value chain; strengthening improved farming quality and competitiveness; as well as a greater emphasis on protecting intellectual property rights and talent attraction.
Technology and innovation have become the driving forces. As an emerging tech giant, China has demonstrated it can be a leading innovator both globally and domestically. China is leading the development of new industries built around digitalisation, artificial intelligence, big data, fifth-generation telecommunications networking (5G), nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, and quantum computing.
China is also leading new types of businesses such as electric vehicles, e-commerce and payment systems and new business models including new digital business-to-consumer (B2C) business-to-business (B2B) applications and channels. It is fast becoming a global hub for accelerated innovation, not just for Chinese companies but for foreign firms wanting to leverage its pool of research talent, cost-effective and flexible R&D capacity, and manufacturing ecosystem to efficiently commercialise concepts and designs into products.
On the other hand, security and privacy risks abound; competing visions of digital sovereignty are impacting supply chains, currency usage and cross border financial flows; and the formation of divergent regulatory regimes is presenting barriers to companies’ ability to transfer data across borders and develop globally integrated digital solutions. The challenge ahead for all nations will be to reach a level of understanding and create a common international framework to manage these emerging risks and allow these new technologies and innovations to evolve and be utilised for the benefit of all. The consequences of not doing so could lead to the crippling of global value chains, economies of scale and innovation systems.
Science and technology development should keep up with leading global trends, it was felt. It needs to serve as the main engine of economic competition, the needs of the country, and benefit people’s health and livelihoods. These goals will be realised through the in-depth implementation of the strategies of rejuvenating the nation through science and education, cultivating talent, and promoting innovation-driven development. This will enable China to improve its innovation capabilities and speed up its transformation into a scientific and technological power.
Digital transformation efforts in New Zealand’s healthcare and education sectors continue to make waves amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports say. In the healthcare sector, ten months after the Health and Disability System Review was released in June 2020, it looks like its recommendations for overhauling the health system will be enacted and digital transformation will be a major component of the changes.
Minister of Health Andrew Little says the government will announce the new structure in April, describing it as the “blueprint for how the system will work in the future”. Digital technologies are one of five “key shifts” taking place. Greater innovation and digital options will see New Zealanders being able to access virtual diagnostic service, access primary care, and have better access to specialist care wherever they live.
The Minister says the pandemic has been the catalyst for change in the healthcare sector, noting that throughout COVID-19 health services have been able to use digital platforms without a reduction in the quality of care. The Ministry noted that they achieved the greater transformation of digital services in a matter of weeks than they did in many years.
The healthcare sector has been a laggard in the adoption of digital channels, as was made clear in the review. It noted that 150 million electronic funds transfer at point-of-sale transactions can be processed monthly, and 60% of adult passport renewals can be processed online, but New Zealand still have a national healthcare system where people cannot do something as simple as updating the address that is linked to their National Health Index Number.
There are, of course, pockets of change in the healthcare sector. Recently, Southern Cross Healthcare announced it has completed the rollout of an electronic clinical notes system, provided by a New Zealand-based global software company, across its network of 15 wholly-owned and joint venture hospitals. Its goal is to have a paperless patient record by 2023.
Since the start of the rollout in December 2020, almost 200,000 notes have been logged electronically across its national network. Southern Cross’s director of nursing says nurses, who generally write notes every two hours as part of their patient rounds are enthusiastic about the technology, reporting it is faster than the paper-based method.
Implementing digital patient notes is just one part of the innovative end-to-end electronic patient record programme that they are developing with the software company. The next phase will involve rolling out the paperless electronic vitals solution and developing a medication management solution, they added.
Meanwhile, over in education, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, a publicly own tertiary education institution in Whakatane with 6,000 students, has a new student management system. Phase one will go live in June 2022.
Awanuiārangi says after the current student management system plateaued, so they looked for a system that would improve the student experience for initial enquiry to application and from enrolment to graduation. The new student management system will include business intelligence reporting delivered via a third-party partner. As part of the offering, Awanuiārangi will also adopt a tech company’s mobile app as a private social network to connect the Wānanga community.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way work is being done in the world today. While changes and adjustments were being done before COVID-19, the pandemic has not only accelerated these strategies but has also force entirely new models of organisational capacities.
New Zealand launched its Digital Tech Industry Transformation Plan for Ministerial very early on in 2019. The new approach to industry policy was aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting the productivity of key sectors. While the country has a strong economic foundation, but its productivity has continued to fall behind its main competitors.
To take advantage of the opportunities of the technological revolution the government has announced Industry Transformation Plans will be developed for key sectors. Industry Transformation Plans will be sector-led and government-supported. They will involve a partnership between government, business, workers and Māori.
Each will be unique to its industry but will build on any existing work to describe an agreed vision for the future state of the sector and outline the actions required to realise this vision, including investment, innovation and skills development. This progress update on the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan shows some very positive developments.
The Ministry of Culture (MOC) announced that four teams have been selected to explore the theme of post-pandemic “New Normal” on May 10. This project aims at promoting experimental projects of cross-domain creation through technological art. Technological art is no longer simply encompassed by technology or art. In light of the pandemic’s impact on human civilisation, it is necessary to think more comprehensively about the experimental implications of technological art.
The theme “New Normal” is aimed at delving into the changes to everyday life caused by the pandemic. Technological art can give a reflection on how human civilisation adapts and develops to confront the pandemic.
Four selected teams interpret the notion of “New Normal” through entirely different art forms and approaches. The themes include online social interaction, digital power, visual impact and urban scenes, folk culture, traditional Chinese medicine, mechanical violence, theatre performances. Three teams use technology as the main theme in their stories.
Shih Yi-shan’s “Memory War observes the online community environment, utilising an algorithm to interfere with the memory scenes of social media. It experiments changes in human memory in an attempt to counter the manipulation of governmental and digital media forces.
NANONANO’s Heterotopia is built on last year’s processing technology for developing nano-material images in creating illusory micro-landscapes. It uses real-world samples and opens up a dialogue with the world in which they are collected.
Tien Zi-ping’s “Weightlessness Project- Chapter New Normal” captures the strength and beauty found in experimental performance and percussion device interpreted with dance postures. The team explores human experience amidst the pandemic and technological experience through physical and sensory experiences.
Taiwan has been utilising technology to promote its culture, including using advanced technology for a national cultural exhibition. As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) teams up with Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) to film a series of “4DViews Chiang Wei-shui Clips”. They adopt 4DViews technology and utilise the latest 3D video capture technology in the world. The filming process includes four green screens and uses 32 camera sets to capture the entire 360-degree of the filmed subject. Currently, only Japan and Taiwan have studios outfitted with this system.
They use this technology to recreate a standing, 3D full-body presentation of Chiang Wei-shui at the cultural facility, Wei-shui Station in Dadaocheng. Chiang Wei-shui was a doctor, social activist, and democracy pioneer who led several cultural movements against Japanese colonial rule. The project also commemorates the Taiwanese Cultural Association’s (TCA) 100th-anniversary celebrations established by Chiang.
The digitalised Chiang serves as a virtual guide for the permanent exhibition, sharing life stories as well as his views on a democratic Taiwan. The audience can have an interactive and immersive experience with their gadgets in hand.
Both of these programmes are in line with the main policy objectives of Taiwan’s MOC. The MOC states that policies should employ the latest technology to more effectively spread the knowledge of Taiwan’s unique culture and customs both domestically and internationally.
To cultivate culture as an instrument of national power, the MOC aims to ensure the cultural rights of citizens, create an environment that fosters creativity, build and maintain cultural values, and bolster the cultural and creative sector’s competitiveness.
To help Taiwan achieve these objectives, the MOC will adhere to the following three fundamental objectives when developing cultural policies; staying true to the roots of culture, building the nation’s international image, and harnessing the power of technology.
One of the distinctive features of the Indonesian tech start-up ecosystem is its close relation to the informal sector. Tech companies are continuously providing platforms to let their customers embrace the digital era. These start-ups have raised a great amount of funding and made a difference in the ways Indonesians are using these services.
Today, another start-up is getting ready to innovate with the informal sector. The app aims to transform how customers interact with travelling food vendor or locally known as “pedagang keliling”. Commonly found in both urban and suburban areas, food sellers travelled by foot, bicycle, or motorbike to offer their products directly to customers in their residences. They usually use a modified cart to carry and prepare their products.
A notable part of Indonesian street food culture, the “pedagang keliling” provides a level of convenience that can only be rivalled by food delivery services. But there is one simple barrier to accessing these services: sometimes, people might just miss them. This is something that the tech developer has experienced many times before.
According to the developer, there is a segment in the culinary industry that remains untouched by digital innovation, and that is travelling food vendor. Often, people wait for their favourite street food sellers, but they miss them –simply because they fail to hear them coming or they happen to be away from home. Therefore, the company is building an on-demand feature that enables customers to check and summon food vendors in his area.
The service is available as a mobile app and via a messaging app. In addition to travelling food vendor, customers can also use the app to order frozen or packaged food from sellers in other cities. The start-up says that it has secured 3,800 culinary merchants onboard its platform. To acquire its users –from customers to merchants to couriers, the app utilises omnichannel marketing strategies. It also plans to team up with cooperatives and local businesses to grow its presence in Indonesian cities.
The platform is currently undergoing the testing process and is set for a launch in Q1 2021. In its debut, the app will be available for users in Greater Jakarta Area and Bandung.
In the future, the app wants to expand its offerings to include other services including airline ticket booking and even vehicle registration number extension. It also believes that working with travelling food vendor will open the door to many great opportunities.
However, the tech developers have yet to find a platform or registry that keeps a record of the number of travelling food vendors in Indonesia. If they can seize this opportunity, this segment will be able to compete with others in the culinary industries, they added.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the use of digital technologies has experienced significant growth in Indonesia in recent years. This trend has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with face-to-face services forced to close or dramatically cut their hours and visitor numbers to reduce the spread of the virus. Further, there has been a lot of interest in Indonesia’s booming tech sector – both domestically and from overseas. Indonesia is slated to have three new unicorns – a privately held start-up company valued at over US$1 billion – in the next five years. Currently, Indonesia has one decacorn or start-up with a valuation of more than US$10 billion and four unicorns valued at over US$1 billion.
Based on research from a survey of over 2,100 end consumers and 1,100 retailers in 23 cities along with and interviews with stakeholders in 13 cities, these massive start-ups could come from the three sectors – e-commerce, fintech and digitisation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).