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Union Budget 2017: Digi-Pay to Weed Out Corruption, New Schemes on Anvil, Says Arun Jaitley

Promotion of digital economy will clean up the system, weed out corruption and black money, and the government will soon launch an Aadhaar-based payment system to promote digital transactions for people living in hinterlands, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:February 1, 2017, 3:25 PM IST
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Union Budget 2017: Digi-Pay to Weed Out Corruption, New Schemes on Anvil, Says Arun Jaitley
Representative Image. (Image: Reuters)

New Delhi: Promotion of digital economy will clean up the system, weed out corruption and black money, and the government will soon launch an Aadhaar-based payment system to promote digital transactions for people living in hinterlands, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

"A merchant enabled Aadhaar payment system will be launched shortly. This will specially be beneficial to those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets or mobile phones," Jaitley said while reading out the Budget in Parliament.

Promotion of digital economy is an integral part of the government's strategy, Jaitley said, adding it has a transformational impact in terms of greater formalisation of the economy and mainstreaming the financial system into the budget system.

"This, in turn, is expected to energise private investment in the country through lower cost of credit. India is now at the cusp of a massive digital revolution. A shift to digital platform has huge benefits to the common man," Jaitley said.

The finance minister said that the BHIM app will unleash the power of mobile phones for making digital payments and financial inclusion.

"125 lakh people have adopted the BHIM app so far, the government will launch two new schemes to promote the use of BHIM. These are referral bonus schemes for individuals and a cashless schemes for merchants," Jaitley said.

He said that the government's earlier initiatives to promote financial inclusion and JAM trinity were precursors to the current push for digital transactions.

Already, there is evidence for increased digital transactions, Jaitley said.

Further, a mission will be set up with a target of over 2,500 crore digital transactions for 2017-18 through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Pay, IMPS and debit cards.

Also, banks have targeted to introduce additional 10 lakh point-of-sale terminal by March 2017, he said.

"Banks will be encouraged to introduce 20 lakh Aadhaar based POS by September 2017," he said.

Jaitley said an increased digital transaction will encourage small and micro enterprises to access formal credit.

Government will encourage SIDBI to refinance credit institutions which provide unsecured loans at reasonable rates to borrowers based on their transaction history, he said.

The digital payment infrastructure and grievances handling system will be strengthened, he added.

"The focus will be rural and semi-urban areas through post offices, fair price shops and banking correspondents. Steps would be taken to promote and possibly mandate petrol pumps, fertiliser depots, municipalities, block offices, road transport offices, universities, colleges, hospitals, and other institutions to have facilities for digital payments including the BHIM app," said the Finance Minister.

A proposal to mandate all the government receipts through digital means beyond a prescribed limit is under consideration, besides the financial inclusion fund will be strengthened to augment resources for taking up the imitative, he said.

"Government will consider and work with various stakeholders for early implementation of the interim recommendations of the Committee of the Chief Ministers on Digital Transactions," the Budget said.

Based on recommendations for structural reforms in the payments ecosystem, including amendments to the Payments and Settlement System Act 2007, by a Committee under the Department of Economic Affairs will undertake a comprehensive review and bring about appropriate amendment.

"To begin with, it is proposed to create a Payment Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India by replacing the existing Board of Regulations and Supervision of the Payment and Settlement System," the Minister said.

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