Under the leadership of President Ranil Wickramasinghe, Sri Lanka introduced the Unified Payment System (UPI) through digital QR codes for Indian tourists, in an event held at the President’s Office, today (12). Notably, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the event virtually.
The UPI system, introduced in collaboration with NPCI International Payments Limited and Sri Lanka’s LankaPay Private Company, aims to facilitate digital payments for Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Initially implemented in 10,000 stores, the program seeks to rapidly expand, with plans to increase the number of participating stores to 65,000 by March 2024.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that the introduction of the UPI system strengthens bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India, aligning with the “Vision Statement” unveiled during his recent official visit to India. The system will enable Indian tourists to conduct transactions seamlessly across Sri Lanka using UPI-enabled mobile applications, leveraging LankaQR for payment convenience.
Around 20 local banks and financial institutions in Sri Lanka have pledged support for the initiative, with plans to extend the service to tourist-centric areas.
During the inauguration, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the significance of connecting Sri Lanka with Tamil Nadu and Mumbai in India through this program, benefitting approximately 400,000 Sri Lankan businessmen. He underscored the potential of the initiative to bolster Indo-Sri Lankan economic relations and promote tourism.
Prime Minister Modi praised the integration of Sri Lanka and Mauritius into the UPI system, emphasizing mutual benefits and digital transformation. He noted the significance of the RuPay card in enhancing convenience for Mauritian tourists visiting India and reducing reliance on cash.
President Wickremesinghe acknowledged the historic and cultural ties between Sri Lanka and India, stressing the importance of technical advancements to strengthen these bonds. He expressed gratitude for Modi’s support and affirmed the commitment to implement the “Vision Statement” collaboratively.
In attendance were key officials including Minister of External Affairs President’s Attorney Ali Sabri, Minister of State for Technology Kanaka Herath, and Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, among others.