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MasterCard plays ’cry baby’ as PM Modi promotes RuPay

New York, Nov 2 (IEBusiness) In a written reference to India’s Prime Minister Modi’s stance to promote Indian companies, Mastercard in a letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on June 21 said that the Prime Minister “associated the use of RuPay cards with nationalism, claiming it serves as ‘kind of national service’.”

The note, which was sent by a Mastercard Vice President for Global Public Policy, Sahra English, said that, while Modi’s digital payments push was “commendable”, the Indian government had adopted “a series of protectionist measures” to the detriment of global companies.

The previously unreported note, which was seen by Reuters, shows the extent to which Modi’s support for RuPay frustrated the Purchase, New York-based company, which is the world’s second-largest payments processor.

“Increasing rhetoric from the prime minister and government mandates on promotion and preference for RuPay continues to create market access issues for US payments technology companies,” Mastercard said in the note.

“The Indian government’s preferential treatment of RuPay coupled with fallacies on pricing must be discontinued,” the company asked the US government to propose.

In response to Reuters queries, Mastercard said in a statement it “fully supports” the Indian government’s initiatives and is “deeply invested” in the country. The company did not comment on its USTR note and its executive Sahra English did not respond to questions.

The USTR did not respond to a request for comment and it was not clear whether the US agency raised Mastercard’s concerns with New Delhi. Visa did not respond to Reuters queries.

There was no response to requests for comment from Modi’s office.

Mastercard, whose president and chief executive is India-born Ajay Banga, has a planned investment outlay of $1 billion in its key Indian market for 2014-2019.

With 2,000 people, India accounts for 14 percent of the global Mastercard workforce, the largest outside the United States.

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