RBI pitches for cash-less carry

DHNS, 09-07-2012 04:08:14

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The day is not far when you pay your vegetable vendor, hair dresser and neighbourhood grocer with your credit card.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prepared a road map to provide card swipe machines to more than one crore retail businesses in the next three years to promote electronic transactions for ushering in a less-cash society in the country.

The central bank has come out with a vision document which envisages ways and means of ensuring that payment system in the country is safe, efficient, accessible, inclusive and also compliant with international standards.

The apex bank has sought public comments on the Payments System Vision Document 2012-15, released a fortnight ago. Pitching to move towards less-cash economy, RBI Governor D Subbarao had recently proposed that non-cash payments should be easy to use, readily available and accepted, should not impose any undue financial burden on the merchant and user, and should offer an appropriate level of security.

According to the road map prepared by the central bank for cash-less transactions, all schools and colleges in the country will also be equipped to handle plastic transactions. At present, very few educational institutions have the facility to accept fees and other dues through credit or debit card.

According to an RBI estimate, only six lakh retail traders accept credit card in the country. Steps are being taken to make the facility available to at least one crore retailers by 2015. The government and its financial institutions will initially bear the cost of each card swap machine made available to retailers.

The proposal, once implemented, will save the common man from the hassles of keeping cash in the pocket for day-to-day transactions and will also help generate revenues for banks.

Paper-less transactions are also expected to make house-hold payments, including electricity, telephone, house tax and insurance bills, easy. On an average, each household pays over 50 types of bills per year in India, involving crores of rupees in cash payments.

According to experts, the proposed structured modern payment and settlement system will prove to be more secure and affordable. It will also reduce the expenditure incurred on printing currency notes. Besides, the paper-less transactions will promote green initiative.

For the government, it will be easier to monitor the revenues earnings of retailers and their tax payments. Currently, lakhs of mom and pop store owners and other unorganised businesses do not pay income tax.

Recently, the government mandated that all payments by the government departments above Rs 25,000 should to be made electronically, it said.

Through these moves, increased emphasis is being laid on the use of electronic payment products and services that can be accessed anywhere and anytime by all at affordable prices.

No fee

Earlier this month, the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had asked the RBI to work out a mechanism to ensure that banks charge no fee from customers for electronic transfer of funds.
The finance ministry has also asked public sector banks and regional rural banks to bring down cheque-based transactions by popularising electronic payments.

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