India taking steps to promote digital, mobile transactions


Dec 21, 2016 (LBO) – India is taking steps to promote digital and mobile transactions in the country after its demonitisation program.

After the cancellation of legal tender basis of old 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes there has been a surge in use of credit and debit cards, mobile phone applications and e-wallets in India.

“To further accelerate this process, the Central Government has decided on a package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country,” India’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

India now gives discounts to those who purchase fuel, and avail of railway services and financial services from state firms if done through digital means.

More than 230 million people in India use electronic wallets, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

The government has tasked banks with adding one million machines in stores to process credit and debit card transactions by March 2017, a two-thirds increase from the 1.5 million available today, the New York Times reported.

Across the country, about 70,000 merchants a day are signing up for India’s best-selling mobile payments platform, Paytm. This is 14 times the daily average before the currency decision, said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of Paytm and One97 Communications.

Since the currency ban, the number of daily transactions on Paytm has grown to nearly six million, an increase of 350 percent, and the service is adding half a million users each day, Sharma said.

“Earlier, we were the innovator, now we are the mainstream,” he said. “This is the start of the golden age for financial technology companies.”

According to the New York Times, moving toward a cashless economy would carry benefits for the government, ensuring that more taxes are paid and providing banks with more reserves to extend loans.

About 78 percent of transactions in India last year were made in cash, compared with 20 percent in the United States, a joint study by Google India and Boston Consulting Group found.

The Indian Ministry of Finance statement promoting the digital economy can be viewed here