Economy
Digital transactions recede, threaten 'Digital India'
The value of digital transactions nationwide declined marginally (1.5 per cent) to Rs 92.6 lakh crore ($1.4 trillion) in February 2017 from Rs 94 lakh crore in November 2016 ($1.42 trillion), according to representative data (provisional) on electronic payments released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
 
The data do not cover all transactions across all banks. But, card payments data for four major banks, mobile banking figures for five banks and prepaid payment instruments (PPI, meaning mobile payment gateways such as PayTM and FreeCharge) data for eight non-bank issuers have been considered as representative for analysing trends in payments.
 
Digital transactions (volume) had increased 42 per cent from 672 million in November 2016 to 958 million in December 2016 but have since declined 20 per cent over two months to 763 million in February 2017.
 
This puts in peril the government's target to achieve 25 billion digital transactions in 2017-18, which translates to at least two billion transactions per month. The February 2017 figure of 763 million transactions falls 60 per cent short of the monthly requirement.
 
"The continuance of that high growth with a further pick-up in some components (of digital payments) (sic) from November to January 2017 was a positive fallout of demonetisation. However, the pace of growth moderated somewhat in February 2017," the RBI noted in its first assessment of demonetisation, titled "Macroeconomic Impact of Demonetisation -- A Preliminary Assessment".
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- whose narrative of development earned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a landslide mandate in the recent Uttar Pradesh assembly polls -- changed tack on demonetisation from black money and fake currency initially to digital/cashless economy later.
 
Only two payment platforms, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar Enabled Payments System (AEPS), show a consistent rise in value (in Rupees) and volume (number) of transactions post-demonetisation. All other forms have shown a decline -- either consistently or in one or two months in the four-month period. 
 
While UPI links mobile applications to a person's bank account directly, AEPS is an Aadhaar-linked biometric identification system used for direct cash transfers under government schemes.
 
"Digital cannot substitute cash. The share of digital among transactions might increase in the long run but cash is affordable," Rajeswari Sengupta, economics professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, told IndiaSpend.
 
"Digital transactions demand a person to buy a smartphone and spend on data, which incur higher cost per transaction. People naturally prefer cash, where the cost is borne by the government."
 
Use of online banking using the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) platform reduced consecutively in January and February 2017, while that of Immediate Payment System (IMPS) increased in December 2016 and January 2017 but declined in February.
 
"The catalytic push from demonetisation hastened migration towards digital payments in November and December 2016. However, ease in availability of cash by progressive remonetisation impacted the pace of growth of digitalisation in February 2017," the RBI assessment said.
 
Debit and credit card transactions for four major banks show little difference between November 2016 and February 2017 -- 205 million swipes transacting Rs 35,200 crore in November 2016 to 212 million swipes transacting Rs 39,200 crore in February 2017.
 
"As the cash in circulation will settle to a lower normal than the pre-demonetisation levels, digital payments will settle at a higher normal and continue its upward trend as before," Sangram Singh, head of cards and payments, Axis Bank, told IndiaSpend.
 
Card transactions improved to 311 million swipes transacting Rs 52,000 crore in December 2016, showing a 50 per cent rise in transactions and 48 per cent rise in value transacted over a month.
 
But the pace of addition in debit and credit cards has not been matched by an equal focus on point of sale (PoS) terminals.
 
"..in comparison to the 800 million cards that have been issued as of now, the number of PoS terminals has not been really adequate," RBI Deputy Governor R. Gandhi said in a speech last month.
 
High capital and operational expenses have deterred the expansion of PoS infrastructure, Gandhi added.
 
Cash available with people, which reduced from Rs 17 lakh crore just before demonetisation to the lowest post-demonetisation level of Rs 7.81 lakh crore ($118 billion) on December 9, 2016, increased to Rs 11.74 lakh crore ($178 billion) on March 3, 2017, according to RBI data.
 
Modi had announced the world's biggest currency swap programme that scrapped 86 per cent of high denomination Indian currency on November 8, 2016.
 
The current level of currency with people matches the November 2013 level of Rs 12 lakh crore ($200 billion at the then prevailing exchange rate of Rs 60 per US$).
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Pawan Sharma

1 day ago

Hey Thanks for Sharing a wonderful blog about online banking..

Keep it up posting...

https://complaints.goprocessing.co/

Rahul Bhangadia

5 days ago

Digital transactions value as reported in the RBI recent report.... suggests that in February...value of digital transactions (ex-RTGS) has remained similar or slightly better than Dec/Jan, when adjusted for 3 lesser days in the month. Volume has gone down slightly...but that is ok...smaller ticket transactions would have moved back to cash.

EPIL CMD, six others arrested in bribery case
The CBI on Monday arrested the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of Engineers Project India Ltd (EPIL) and six other employees of the public sector undertaking in a Rs 10-lakh bribery case, an official said.
 
EPIL CMD S.P.S. Bakshi as well as two Executive Directors Harcharan Pal and Kapil Tara were arrested from their offices in Scope Complex in south Delhi's Lodhi Road area along with other staff members.
 
They were booked for criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
 
"The EPIL officials were alleged of demanding Rs 10 lakh from a Raipur-based private firm for favouring it in the award of a contract for construction of Mega Urban Educational Complex at Pallur Hills in Odisha's Berhampur area," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Spokesperson R.K. Gaur said.
 
The CBI official also said that the EPIL CMD further allegedly conspired with one of his staff members to collect the bribe amount as a part payment of the total agreed amount of gratification from one hawala operator based in Delhi's Chandni Chowk.
 
"The staffer was intercepted by CBI while allegedly receiving the bribe. Searches were conducted today (Monday) at eight locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Raipur," the official said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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3,000 Maharashtra resident doctors remain on mass leave
For the second consecutive day on Tuesday medical services in 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra, including four in Mumbai, were hit when over 3,000 resident doctors continued their mass Casual Leave protest against growing incidents of attacks by patients' relatives.
 
In the absence of any concrete measures by the government pertaining to their security, the resident doctors continued the mass Casual Leave for the second day, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) Swapnil Meshram said.
 
A public interest writ petition was filed on Monday in Bombay High Court against the doctors' agitation by a social activist which is expected to be heard later Tuesday.
 
There have been at least five attacks on resident doctors in one week, including two in the past 48 hours, said Indian Medical Association (Youth) state President Sagar Mundada.
 
On Monday, MARD office-bearers met Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced some tough measures to curb violence against medicos, including limiting the number of relatives who will be permitted to accompany patients.
 
Henceforth, only two relatives of any patient shall be permitted with special passes and those found without the valid passes shall be prosecuted, said Additional Municipal Commissioner I.A. Kundan.
 
The decision was taken at a high-level comprising civic officials, representatives of civic hospitals and BMC chief security officer Ramesh Pawar on Monday evening.
 
While assuring that it was the duty of the civic body to ensure security, Mahadeshwar appealed to the 4,000-plus medicos on casual leave (on Monday) to resume duties or BMC would consider initiating disciplinary action.
 
The BMC will seek additional armed forces, numbering around 500, from the Maharashtra State Security Force which will be deployed in various Mumbai hospitals, and entry points of each hospital would be designated for different types of patients.
 
MARD President Yashowardhan Kabra said the sudden spate of attacks on medicos have left them shattered and "it was difficult to work under such life-threatening conditions".
 
In Mumbai, the government hospitals hit are KEM, Sion LTMG, Nair and Sir JJ Group where a large number of resident doctors work.
 
Several thousands of patients were deprived of medicare though senior doctors and others handled serious or emergency cases, but an estimated 400 scheduled surgeries had to be postponed on Monday.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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