Bharat Bytes: Card tokenization deadline extended; crypto bill delayed; AI ROI; phone exports; single sign-on for all; Logistics hackathon

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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RBI gives enterprises six more months to work on payment card tokenization

Enterprises taking regular card payments from customers online have an additional six months to figure out how to do so without storing card-on-file (CoF) data. The Reserve Bank of India has extended the deadline for deleting such data to June 30, 2022, giving businesses time to try other recurring payment methods before eventually complying with the tokenisation mandate.

The RBI first published its guidelines on boosting the safety of internet transactions in March 2020, initially barring businesses from retaining client card information from June 30, 2021. It has already extended that date once, to December 31, following industry pressure.

On Dec. 23, a week from the deadline, RBI notified payment system providers and participants of the new date, adding that, “In addition to tokenisation, industry stakeholders may devise alternate mechanisms to handle any use case (including recurring e-mandates, EMI option, etc.) or post-transaction activity (including chargeback handling, dispute resolution, reward/loyalty programme, etc.) that currently involves/requires storage of CoF data by entities other than card issuers and card networks.”

While some of the biggest online retailers have already adopted tokenization — in which card issuers or processors attribute merchants a unique code for each card they process so that cardholder details stolen from one merchant cannot be used to make payments with another — smaller businesses are struggling with the technicalities.

Debate on cryptocurrency bill postponed

The Indian government has abandoned its plan to present a bill on cryptocurrency and regulation of an official digital currency in the current session of parliament. It was not included on the list of government business for the remaining part of the winter session.

The bill is still awaiting approval from the Cabinet, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The federal government has not yet announced whether the planned cryptocurrency rules will be revisited during the next session of Parliament, which is expected to begin in February.

The Reserve Bank of India is concerned that cryptocurrencies could jeopardise the country's macroeconomic stability. The government, on the other hand, is said to be considering a more accommodating stance rather than outright banning all private cryptocurrencies as it originally announced.

AI pays off in less than two years for majority of Indian firms

Enterprises still wondering about whether it’s worth incorporating AI into their IT systems can take heart from a recent Deloitte survey that found that AI projects paid off within two years for 61% of all respondents, and for 72% of those having already deployed five or more AI projects.

The survey of 309 senior executives, State of AI in India, also found that the industries most likely to use AI across a number of business functions were retail and consumer, telecom and media, financial services, and technology, noting that companies in other industries had a chance to steal a march on their competition by implementing AI first.

In the past fiscal year 45 percent of the respondents spent more than ₹5 crore on AI-related technology and talent, and about 86 percent of organizations expect to increase AI investment  in the next fiscal year, by an average of 29 percent. 

Indian exports of mobile phones increased in 2021

India has become a net exporter of mobile phones: In the first half of fiscal year 2021-22, the country exported mobile phones worth $1.7 billion (around ₹12,500 crores), while mobile phone imports totalled just $500 million.

That’s a significant shift compared to a few years ago, when India’s mobile phone exports for the full fiscal year 2017-18 were worth just $200 million, and imports $3.5 billion, according to figures presented to the Rajya Sabha by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Determining where electronic devices are manufactured is a difficult question. Silicon wafers may cross international borders for transformation into chips, then again for packaging and testing, once more to be soldered onto a circuit board and again before finally being assembled into a finished product.

The Indian government is taking steps to boost domestic electronics manufacturing, with Production Linked Incentive Schemes (PLIs) for various product categories, the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS), and the Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) to boost local value addition in the manufacturing of mobile phones and their sub-assemblies or parts.

Government explores national single sign-on tool for online services

Officials discussed the possibility of providing a national single sign-on tool at the latest of a series of national workshops on reducing compliance burdens organized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

The idea would be to use UMANG, the Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance, as the a single sign-on tool for mobile users of central and state government services, with www.india.gov.in providing the service on the web.

Other sessions discussed integrating the State Single Windows systems with central ministries and departments, delivering effective grievance redressal online through the use of AI, and how merging key business identity numbers into a single ID might simplify life for businesses.

DPIIT set the tone for the workshop with a brief review of the exercise to reduce compliance burdens, the status of reduced compliances, efforts implemented by Ministries and States/UTs to minimise compliance load on residents and enterprises, and the exercise's next steps.

LogiXtics hackathon aims to solve logistics industry’s problems

The Unified Logistics Interface Platform Hackathon — LogiXtics — is looking to crowdsource ideas that will benefit the logistics industry.

Inefficiencies in the supply chain are imposing high costs on India Inc. Logistics expenses as a proportion of GDP are far higher in India, at around 14%, than in the US or Germany (8% to 9%), according to a report by Arthur D. Little India released in collaboration with CII.

Innovation that helps the country reduce its logistics expenditures to the level of the US or Germany could save the country up to $50 billion.

Improving logistics efficiency is one of the goals of ULIP, a government initiative launched in 2020 that aims to integrate logistics-related portals and systems across government ministries and agencies using open APIs and a unified interface. Possible outcomes could include secure document exchange, a common logistics planning and performance monitoring tool, or a national container tracking system, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Some key components are Integration with existing data sources of ministries, data exchange with private players, and unified document reference in the supply chain.

Hackathon entrants have until 10 January 2022 to submit their outline proposals; the best ideas will go forward to a two-month-long prototyping stage in which they can develop their software with government support and access to the ULIP APIs. Prize money will be awarded to three finalists selected in late March.

The hackathon was launched on 16 December 2021 by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), and organised by Niti Aayog and the Atal Innovation Mission.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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