Thursday, March 17, 2011

284 - 737 - MasterCard CEO Banga smells big biz in UID project - The Economic Times

18 OCT, 2010, 05.18AM IST,NEW YORK TIMES

MUMBAI: A day after the Indian government started a campaign to give identification numbers to all its 1.2 bn citizens, Ajay Banga , chief executive of MasterCard , arrived in town, eager to lend a hand.

The programme will identify people based on fingerprints and retina scans, and could make it easier for government to route food stamps and other payments to people below the poverty line. Banga says he believes he has a simple way to process the payments: via the MasterCard network. “I wasn't educated in US; I was educated in India. I understand what you are trying to do,” he said. “I think it's a huge opportunity for our government and people and companies like ours” .

Government could find other networks for payments . But MasterCard hopes that Banga's ability to glide among languages and borders gives it an edge. Though Banga has risen to top ranks of American business, the roots of his success are firmly planted in India, where he was born, raised and got his start. His success at Master-Card may well depend on India, too.