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Published On: Sat, Dec 10th, 2016

Center should take more incentives to move towards digital transactions: Naidu

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indexNEW DELHI : The Second meeting of the Committee of Chief Ministers, of which the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is the Convenor, at a meeting here on Friday reviewed the present situation and asked the Union Government to take more incentives for citizens to move towards digital transactions.
A statement issued by the Niti Ayog here on Saturday that the meeting followed the deliberations held by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, VC, NITI Aayog, CEO, NITI Aayog, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and DG, Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) with the Governor and senior management of RBI and CMDs of major private and public sector banks on Friday in Mumbai.

The Committee of Chief Ministers has been set up by NITI Aayog to examine and promote the adoption of digital payment systems across the country. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu is the Convener of the Committee with Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Puducherry and Sikkim along with the Vice Chairman and CEO NITI Aayog with five experts including the former Chairman of UIDAI, Nandan Nilekeni are its members.

A statement issued by the Niti Ayog said that Maharashtra Government informed that it was introducing an Aadhaar Bill in the legislative assembly to give legal status to the use of Aadhaar number for various purposes.

While Madhya Pradesh Government reported that it had initiated a major program to digitize the transactions in government mundies, the Odisha Government pointed out that the state was deficient in financial infrastructure including bank branches, bank correspondent, Internet penetration and mobile phones.

At its meeting in New Delhi the Committee took cognizance of the slew of measures taken by Ministry of Finance to incentivize use of digital payments and noted that further steps are required to make digital transactions attractive vis-Ă -vis cash transactions.

Noting that RBI and banks are largely supportive of the measures, the Committee said that to ease the digital payment operations at the level of merchant, UIDAI would shortly roll out the common Android based Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) application developed in collaboration with TCS that can be downloaded by the merchants.

To use this Application for carrying out cashless transactions, merchants will need a smartphone and a fingerprint scanner. Transactions on this application can be done without any card or PIN. The application would be made available to all banks and the banks would encourage merchants in their vicinity to adopt this application.

RBI should allow authentication through iris scanner and One Time Password (OTP) for AEPS.There should be no charge on AEPS transactions.Inter-operability of all pre-paid instruments on the United Payments Interface (UPI) platform alongwith a common QRCode would greatly simplify transactions.

The Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regime needs to be streamlined. To popularize digital transactions the Committee proposed a detailed review of the MDR regime, inter-linking of various digital payments platforms such asUnstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) with UPI, self-boarding by small merchants and a common application for UPI.

The Niti Ayog press statement said that procedure for simplified Know Your Customer (KYC) using Aadhaar needs to be adopted and upgraded version of USSD should be rolled out by December 25.The Committee also considered the issues relating to procurement of equipment like Point of Sales (PoS) machines and Micro Automatic teller Machines (ATMs).

It was decided that Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will prepare a status note on the procurement options for these devices. On Friday Mr. Babu held a conference with bankers across the country on issues related to demonitisation.
He also held Video Conference with several Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries along with NITI Aayog members.Mr Naidu also briefed the Union Finance Minister on the outcome of his meeting with RBI governor in Mumbai and on the steps taken by some of the states following demonetization move by the Centre.

The issues included connectivity and interoperability problems faced by the people in several states including Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. He discussed about the steps to be taken to ensure interoperability to ensure effective digital transactions in the future and underlined the need for uploading the required software in the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system and said it is possible to take action in this regard within two weeks.

Mr Naidu said the Central Committee is planning to submit its recommendations to the Centre as soon as possible. He said the Committee is trying to take all measures as regards security in the operations of digital transactions.

In his meeting with hardware manufacturers and Telecom companies, he got an assurance from them in this regard. Mr Naidu told them that internet connectivity is must for ensuring successful digital transactions. He also made several suggestions to the telecom companies and hardware manufacturing companies in this regard.

On the concerns expressed by these companies regarding taxation issues, Mr Naidu asked them to bring into the knowledge of the Central Government and assured that the Committee will do the needful.

Mr Naidu said that the Telecom companies have also assured cooperation to the Committee in its efforts to bring digital economy operations proposed in the country. Sources said it may not take long time to bring effective digital transactions into operation considering the assurances given by all stakeholders.

The NITI Aayog is also making all out efforts to launch a nation-wide campaign in an aggressive manner to make the move a success. It is also expected that shortage of cash in banks is expected to come down as the Centre has decided to arrange Rs.500 currency notes into circulation from 15th of this month.

The Centre is also taking several measures to reduce the problems of the people in getting cash at banks and ATMs. The Committee, headed by Mr Naidu will also recommend to the Centre not to levy transaction charges on the people till 30th of this month.


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