The e-commerce company PayTM has been in news ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his historic decision of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. A Supreme Court hearing on the much debated economic reform saw endorsement for it from an unlikely quarter. Arguing that there are many ways in which people can withdraw money and pay their utility bills, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi repeatedly referred to Paytm, which can be used to make payments. He said it can even be used to pay for a rickshaw ride. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented a batch of PILs against the demonetisation, reminded Rohatgi that Paytm is a private company backed by Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba, and promoting it may not reflect well on the government, a report said.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted that the e-commerce company is the biggest beneficiary of the move. “Paytm biggest beneficiary of PM’s announcement. Next day PM appears in its ads. Whats the deal, Mr PM?” he had tweeted. PayTM CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, however, stole the show on social media with his response. “Dear Sir, The biggest beneficiary is our country. We are just a tech startup, trying to solve financial inclusion & make India proud,” he had tweeted.
The centre’s decision to ban Rs 500, Rs 1000 has come as a shot in the arm for mobile wallet companies like Paytm, Freecharge and Mobikwik that now expect to see a strong pick up in userbase as well as transaction sizes. Even as citizens across the country went into a panic mode following the announcement, Paytm — that has a current user base of 150 million — jumped at the idea and issued full page advertisements asking people to go “cash free”. It added that its platform saw a whopping 435 per cent increase in overall traffic, 200 per cent hike in number of app downloads and 250 per cent surge in number of overall transactions and transaction value — all within hours of the decision being made public. According to industry estimates, cash still accounts for over 78 per cent of all consumer payments done in India. While the government has been taking steps to move towards a digital economy, the current move is expected to accelerate the transition.