The Narendra Modi government has constituted a 13-member Committee of Chief Ministers headed by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu to promote digital payment systems for more transparency, financial inclusion and also prepare a roadmap in this regard.
Apart from Naidu, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis have also been included in the committee along with NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, and Amitabh Kant CEO, NITI Aayog.
Kant will serve as the Member Secretary of the panel.
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) are special invitees.
The terms of reference of the committee are to identify the global best practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment and examine the possibility of adoption of these global standards in the Indian context.
The panel will also outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments like cards (Debit, Credit and pre-paid), Digital-wallets/ E-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking apps, etc and shall broadly indicate the roadmap to be implemented in one year.
It 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 digital economy.
The committee will also prepare a roadmap for the administrative machineries in the States to facilitate adoption of digital modes of financial transactions.
The high level group will also identify and address bottlenecks and indicate solutions pertaining to adoption of the steps required to move towards a digital payments economy.
It will also associate the key stakeholders for implementation of the suggested steps towards a digital payments economy and delineate and adopt measures evolved by the Committee of Officers constituted for the purpose.
It will also examine and address any other associated issues which are not specifically mentioned herein. The Committee may devise its own procedures for conducting business, meetings, constitution of sub-groups, etc.
“Economic growth with financial inclusion and equity is a key priority of the Government. By enabling broader access and participation in the financial system, 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,” a press release by the NITI Aayog said.
It further said, “Digitization 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 formalization of all financial transactions thus increasing transparency and plugging leakages from the system.”
“NITI Aayog was entrusted with the task of undertaking a campaign to implement digital payments systems and it has been working on an awareness campaign to popularize the different modes of digital payment which are currently available viz. Cards, USSD, digital wallets, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
“There is also an urgent need to spread awareness about the above initiatives in the form of a mission-mode, including sensitization of field level functionaries about the same,” it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing for “cashless economy” and the government is undertaking a massive awareness campaign to promote digital payment systems after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was announced.