That the Indian government is mighty serious about digitizing the country is well-documented. Post demonetization on November 8, 2016, the government has backed for a “cashless” society and introduced various measures to help achieve that. The finance minister announced an ambitious target of 25 billion transactions by March 2018, i.e. the end of this financial year. And in order to reach there in a systematic manner, the government has now allotted targets to specific ministries and states depending on their on-ground reach, ET reported.
A bulk of the burden has to be shouldered by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), both chasing over 5 billion electronic payments in 2017-18. FASTag lanes across 360 of the 375 toll plazas on national highways are being installed to enable electronic payments. This is followed by the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Ministry of Labour and Employment, each chasing 1.5 to 3 billion transactions. ALSO READ: Digital India: UPI-based transactions grew more than 20 times since demonetization
Overall, the targets have been split among 35 ministries, 29 states and 7 Union territories. Ministries have been chosen depending on the size of their physical footprint across the country. “For the petroleum ministry, the point of interface will be the petrol pump network; for human resource development it is the educational institutes, and for railways, it will be the stations or the booking counters,” a government official was quoted as saying. ALSO READ: Demonetization: 271% surge in e-wallet transactions per day; UPI registers 48,238 transactions per day
As far as state-wise targets go, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh — large states with a sizeable population — have to lead with over 3 billion transactions by March 2018. Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Gujarat have to contribute over 1.5 billion transactions each. The Ministry of Electronics and IT, which is overseeing the entire exercise, has created an online dashboard to monitor the progress in real-time. Since demonetization, digital transactions have trebled and quadrupled in volume and value respectively, according to RBI data. This new strategy by the government will further push citizens towards the adoption of digital currency.
Photo: Economic Times