With an aim to discourage cash transactions, the Finance Ministry has set up a high-level committee to suggest steps to promote card payments through incentives like tax rebates and cash back schemes.
The 11-member committee, headed by former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal, will recommend various measures to “incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax rebates/incentives, introduction of cash back/lottery,” the ministry said.
The panel, which will review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments, has been set up following a decision taken by the Cabinet in February.
It will also study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card/digital payments and ensure that merchants/consumers can leverage the data to access “instant, low cost micro-credit” through digital means and create necessary linkage between the payment history and credit information.
The panel will also study and recommend need for changes, if any, in the regulatory mechanism under various laws, relevant for the purpose of promotion of payments by digital modes.
“To study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number or any other proof of identity for authentication of card/digital transactions and setting up of a centralised KYC Registry” is another key task given to it.
The committee will study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards/digital payments of government receipts and enable settlements via NPCI or other agencies within specified timelines.
Another task assigned to the panel is to identify regulatory bottlenecks and suggest changes.
It will also look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, PayGov, Bharatkosh and eKuber.
The Union Cabinet in February had approved withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on card and digital payments.
It also approved mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only through a card or digital mode.
The panel has been asked to submit its report in one year.
The Watal panel will also study global best practices in payments and identify possible market failures, along with suitable interventions.
The committee members include former RBI Deputy Governor H R Khan, Chairman of Indian Banks Association, President of Nasscom and CBDT Chairperson.