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This Is Govt’s New Plan To Make More People Use UPI And Other Digital Payments

The TRAI proposal seeks to make USSD messages free for all mobile customers in India. Image used for representation. (Image Credit: Nokia)

The TRAI proposal seeks to make USSD messages free for all mobile customers in India. Image used for representation. (Image Credit: Nokia)

TRAI had earlier reduced the tariff ceiling for USSD-based banking and payment services from Rs 1.5 to Rs 0.5 back in 2016.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a proposal to make digital payments more accessible for Indian users. The TRAI proposal seeks to make Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) messages free for all mobile customers in India. USSD messages are often used for banking and SIM services on feature phones that do not have access to the internet. Currently, USSD messages cost a maximum of 50 paise, but the government’s proposal is to bring that down to zero.

TRAI has said that the low call and SMS prices in India are a reason for proposing the removal of charges for mobile customers. In its new report, TRAI said that the proposal to make USSD messages free for all users is based on recommendations of a high-level committee on Deepening of Digital Payments (CDDP) constituted by the Reserve Bank of India to encourage digital payments in the country.

The regulatory body also said that it has analysed the issue on a request from the Department of Finance Services (DFS) to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and TRAI believes that removal of USSD charges is necessary to protect the interests of USSD users and boost digital finance solutions in the country.

TRAI had earlier reduced the tariff ceiling for USSD-based banking and payment services from Rs 1.5 to Rs 0.5 back in 2016.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 11:07 IST