IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has directed top officials in his ministry to ensure that all the over 1.2 billion bank accounts in the country have internet banking facility by the end of the current fiscal, March 2017. According to the Reserve Bank of India, the country had more than 1.2 billion savings accounts in 2015.
Earlier this month, Prasad was given the responsibility to spearhead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of promoting digital transactions and payments in a bid to reduce corruption and enhance transparency. Sources said in his first review meeting on the initiative, Prasad told his officials to fast-track the process of enabling internet banking for all the accounts and ensure that it is over by March 31, 2017. Around 65% accounts have already been covered and the rest need to be covered. The minister will be meeting bankers and other experts soon to discuss how to further fast-track the process.
The government, after demonetisation, has pushed for digital payments, launching the indigenous digital payments app BHIM in December last for fast and secure cashless transactions. The app has already recorded more than 1.72 crore downloads. Since its launch, the app has seen transactions worth around R958 crore, of which about R595 crore happened in February itself.
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Besides, digital payment channels like mobile wallets, USSD and RuPay have also seen massive uptake and rise in transactions after demonetisation. Buoyed by the public’s response on using online payment mediums, the government will set up a mission with the target of achieving 25 billion digital transactions by March 2018 using UPI, USSD and Aadhaar Pay, among others.
– Rishi Ranjan Kala