The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has so far met only 4% of the targeted number of downloads of the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app for FY18, according to a presentation made by the company’s managing director and chief executive officer, AP Hota. The presentation, reviewed by FE, reveals that BHIM, meant for payments using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) channel, has seen a total of 16 million downloads since its launch in December. The target for BHIM downloads for the year ended March 2018 is 400 million. From 2.54 million downloads in December, BHIM went on to log 6.76 million downloads in January. Download volumes have nowhere been close to that ever since. The numbers stood at 2.16 million, 1.05 million, 1.91 million, 0.94 million and 0.55 million in the five subsequent months. This would mean that BHIM will need to see 14 lakh downloads every day, starting July, as against the roughly 89,000 downloads a day on an average so far.
That seems to be a tough ask, given that the pace of fresh downloads actually slowed after peaking in January, which is when restrictions on cash withdrawals imposed as part of the demonetisation exercise began to be eased.
The implementation of the government’s digital push has been plagued by unrealistic targets. In June, FE had reported that banks’ target for acquiring merchants for digital transactions has been more than trebled to 100 per branch from 30 earlier. Every scheduled commercial bank (SCB), irrespective of its size and ownership pattern, will now have to meet this target by the end of December this year. The deadline for the earlier target was September.
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According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India, the total value of UPI transactions made during June stood at `3,070 crore, while the total volume of transactions was 10.2 million.
Aggregate transaction values on the UPI have consistently been on the rise since November. Coupled with the slowdown in fresh downloads of the BHIM app and the uneven pattern of transaction volumes, this suggests that users are now more confident of carrying out transactions involving larger amounts using the UPI.