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Mr. V George Antony

The pre-lunch session of the Finance Continuum had an insightful talk on the realms of remittance and currency exchange market by Mr. V. George Antony, Country Head, UAE Exchange. The session began with a brief snapshot of UAE Exchange company profile. With global remittance as its core business, UAE Exchange operates in 28 countries having 509 offices. In India, it is headquartered in Kochi and functions as a NBFC. 

Mr. Antony then spoke about how the present form of currency exchange had come into being in the country. The 1994 plague in India had disrupted the delivery of foreign remittances to an extent that the business came almost to a standstill as post offices could no longer be depended upon. UAE Exchange then sought permission from RBI to establish offices to print it's own drafts. Since then, the company has grown leaps and bounds, going on to becoming the first exchange company in India to provide online drafts.  The whole remittance system in the company has now been well integrated such that a sms is even sent to the remittance beneficiary within 3 minutes of the draft being deposited in the company.

World Bank data had shown that India received the largest remittance in 2010 amounting to $55 billion, an increase of 162% over the last eight years.  

Mr. Antony then stressed on the impact of new payment system that would be introduced by NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India). The current credit card system has not had made deep inroads in the country due to costs charged in the transaction process by VISA, MasterCard and the likes. There are places across the Bangladesh border in West Bengal where the currency is easily carried. Due to paper currency in wide circulation, various issues such as black marketing, tax evasion etc occur widely. The new payment system that would be introduced by NPCI would remove all the intermediary costs, thereby promoting credit transaction on a wide scale.

Mr. Antony also shared personal anecdotes of his abroad visits where he encountered wide usage of credit systems.