New Delhi: In a press release by the government that tells the people how serious it is about a digitised economy that witnesses less cash transactions, it has said that “economic growth with financial inclusion and equity” is its “key priority”. By enabling broader access and participation in the financial system, it says, the government aims to reduce income inequality, boost job creation, accelerate consumption, increase investments in human capital and help the poor families to manage risk and absorb financial shocks.
The government hopes that digitisation of payments would significantly enhance financial inclusion by overcoming physical barriers and would thus enhance access to financial services rapidly. In addition, it would also enable turning all financial transactions formal, thus increasing transparency and plugging leakages from the system.
The NITI Aayog was entrusted with the task of undertaking a campaign to implement digital payment systems and it has been working on an awareness campaign to popularise the different modes of digital payment that are currently available, namely cards, USSD, digital wallets, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
There is an urgent need to spread awareness about the initiatives above on a mission mode. This should include sensitisation of field-level functionaries about the same. As NITI Aayog is mandated to act for the promotion of co-operative federalism and recognise the crucial role of State governments in this endeavour for nation building. The Aayog has been carrying forward its mandate in close association with the States and its respective administrations.
With this in view and for boosting the adoption of digital payments systems by people at the grass root levels and small businesses, the government has decided to constitute a committee of chief ministers representing different political parties to examine and implement measures to implement digital payment systems to promote transparency, financial inclusion and ensure a healthy financial ecosystem. The committee will also include experts as special invitees.
The committee will comprise Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, as the convener; and Naveen Patnaik, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Pawan Kumar Chamling, V Narayanasamy, Devendra Fadnavis, respectively the Chief Ministers of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Puducherry and Maharashtra, as members.
The committee will also have Arvind Panagariya and Amitabh Kant, respectively the vice-chairman and member secretary of the NITI Aayog. Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman, UIDAI, Janmejaya Sinha, chairman, Boston Consulting Group, Rajesh Jain, managing director, netCORE, Sharad Sharma, co-founder, iSPIRIT and Jayant Varma, professor (Finance), IIM (Ahmedabad), will be the special invitees.
The terms of reference of the committee will include identifying the global best practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment and examining the possibility of adoption of these global standards in the Indian context. The committee shall also identify and outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments like cards (debit, credit and pre-paid), digital wallets or e-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking applications etc and shall broadly indicate the roadmap to be implemented in a year.
The committee shall evolve an action plan to reach out to the public at large with the objective to create awareness and help them understand the benefits of such a switchover to the digital economy. It shall prepare a roadmap for the administrative machinery in States to facilitate the adoption of digital modes of financial transactions.
It will identify and address bottlenecks and indicate solutions pertaining to adoption of the steps required to move towards a digital payments economy, and associate the key stakeholders for implementation of the suggested steps towards a digital payments economy.
The committee will delineate and adopt measures evolved by the committee of officers constituted for the purpose, and examine and address any other associated issues which are not specifically mentioned here. It may devise its own procedures for conducting business, meetings and constituting sub-groups.