Extending support to the government’s mission of increasing digital payment adoption in the wake of the fast approaching Goods & Service Tax (GST) regime, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) recently organised a round table conference in New Delhi. The event, centered on ‘Digital Payments – Importance and Adoption’, explored how traders and the industry could smoothly transition towards GST. In attendance were more than 200 prominent representatives of non-corporate entities, financial institutions, banks and technology providers. The event was part of CAIT’s national campaign for spreading awareness about the importance of electronic/cashless transactions in business.
CAIT has also launched a national campaign, earlier this year, in association with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), to persuade the non-corporate business sector to amplify adoption of digital payments. And in association with MasterCard, it has already been working in mission mode for the past two years, to raise awareness about the digital payment system and the benefits of its adoption. CAIT is partnering with HDFC Bank as well, to apprise traders about online payments.
In order to make India a less-cash economy, and speed up adoption of digital payments by trade and commerce as also by public at large, it is essential that the government subsidises transaction charges levied on digital payments to the banks directly. According to B C Bhartia, CAIT’s national president, transaction charges are one of the major deterrents in adoption of digital payments in the country, and as such neither the merchant, nor consumer should be burdened with them. On the other hand, he says, the government can levy a nominal ATM usage surcharge in order to discourage people from withdrawing cash.
“It is in the fitness of things that the government frames a comprehensive incentive policy for persons and business entities using digital payments. Besides all sorts of debit and credit cards, all other modes of digital payments including POS terminals, M-POS, mobile wallets, mobile applications, QR code, UPI and Aadhar-enabled applications should be brought under the ambit of incentive schemes,” Bhartia asserted while speaking at the recently held conference. He added that CAIT will be meeting the Union Finance Minister to submit its detailed proposals in this regard.
At the conference, CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal mooted the formation of a Digital Payment Promotion Board comprising of senior officials and representatives of traders and consumers. He also said that in accordance with recommendations of Wattal Committee, an independent Payments Regulatory Board should be set up. “The NBFCs and MFIs should also be brought under the landscape of digital payments to install white label POS terminals, by encouraging a scheme to subsidise POS terminals directly or indirectly across both urban and rural areas,” he said.