India card Rupay to replace Visa, MasterCard

Rupay, the unique India Card which is set to replace global real-time payment processing firms like Visa and MasterCard, is expected to be launched in a few months once the systems and network are in place

Mumbai: After almost two years of planning, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has at last finalised the proposed unique India Card which once commercially launched would be an domestic alternative to the global real-time payment processing firms like Visa and MasterCard, reports PTI.

"We have finalised name of the proposed card as 'Rupay' at our board meeting here on Monday. We have also finalised the logo for the same," a senior official of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-set up NPCI, told PTI last evening.

The official sought not to be named.

The official further said the leading financial consultancy firm Ernst & Young (E&Y) will develop and roll out the entire architecture, including the design and software for the Rupay card rollout.

A senior E&Y official confirmed the development to this agency. He further said, the NPCI will initially launch a domestic ATM/debit cards to begin with and then would hit the credit card market later on.

In 2009, the RBI had asked the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to launch a not-for-profit company and design a rival card, then tentatively called India Card, that meets the requirements of the domestic banks.

And finally, RBI plan is materialising and Rupay will be like the Union Pay of China, which is the domestic real-time payment processing firm for Chinese banks, and was planned to be launched last year.

The commercial launch is expected in a few months, once the systems and network are in place.

Domestic banks now have no option but to tie up with Visa or MasterCard for connectivity between cardholders, merchants and issuing banks not just within the country, but across the globe in the absence of a domestic card.

Every transaction done here using a debit or credit card issued by a domestic bank is routed through network switches owned by Visa or MasterCard, which are based outside the country. But now the Rupay would eliminate the need for this connectivity.

Domestic banks paid around Rs500 crore last year as fees to these global card firms for processing debit and credit card payments, 90% of which were domestic deals.

The Rupay initiative entails the setting up of a network switch, which acts as a payment gateway that connects all the ATMs and points-of-sale (PoS) terminals. The domestic system is meant to gradually replace payment settlement providers like MasterCard and Visa, which now control all payments and settlements that happen through cards.

NPCI is registered as a company with nine public sector, private sector and foreign banks owning stakes. RBI will oversee its operations in the initial years. Thereafter it will function as an independent company regulated by RBI, according to the RBI policy paper on Payment systems vision 2009-12.

"The concept of a domestic payment card (India Card then and now Rupay) and a PoS switch network for issuance and acceptance of payment cards would be looked into. The need for such a system arises from two major considerations (a) the high cost borne by the domestic banks for affiliation with international card associations in the absence of a domestic price setter (b) the connection with international card associations resulting in the need for routing even domestic transactions, which account for more than 90% of the total, through a switch located outside the country," the RBI had said in its vision paper.

As per the latest RBI data, debit card transactions rose 49% to Rs3,712.67 crore in January 2011, against Rs2,491 crore y-o-y. The number of debit cards in use also rose by 25% in the reporting month to 21.82 crore up from 17.41 crore as on 31 January 2010.

In the April-January period, the total transactions carried out by debit cards jumped by 47.06%, to Rs32,029.24 crore, from Rs21,779.83 crore in the first 10 months of the last fiscal, according to RBI data.

Against this, credit card transactions rose 28% in January to Rs6,934.65 crore, despite a 10% drop in the number of credit cards in circulation. As of 31 January 2011, there were 1.81 crore active credit cards in the country, down from 2.02 crore y-o-y.

During the April-January period of the current fiscal, the total transactions carried out via credit cards increased 21.78% to Rs62,335.44 crore as against Rs51,188.94 crore in the year-ago period.




6 years ago

Very good news, thanks, been a while in coming. It is muchmore than the 500 crore in fees. It is all about our own sovereignity as far as as our payment processing industry and float are concerned, and more.

HOWEVER. Why does the RBI or Indian Government need software and technology from Ernst & Young, do we know who the real owners or backers of Ernst & Young are, for example? To my knolwedge, E&Y Global, the holding company for E&Y, are hidden behind a mask of UK companies routed through various fronts, which then submerge in the usual Channel Islands/BVI kind of opaque cutouts.

RBI should take cognizance of this, and the Indian Government should demand that the real owners and controllers of E&Y come out in the open before placing such serious responsibilities on them.

Govt introduces Constitution Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha for GST

The Bill provides for creation of a GST Council to be headed by the Union finance minister, which will be empowered to recommend tax rates and exemption and threshold limits for good and services. It also provides for creation of a Dispute Settlement Authority to deal with grievances of the Centre and the states with regard to GST

New Delhi: The government today introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to facilitate implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), an indirect tax regime that would subsume levies like excise, service tax and sales tax, reports PTI.

The Bill, introduced by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee seeks to amend the constitution with a view to confer simultaneous powers on centre and states to levy taxes on goods and services.

"The GST would replace a number of indirect taxes presently being levied by the central government and the state governments and is intended to remove cascading of taxes and provide a common national market for goods and services," said the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill.

The Bill provides for creation of a GST Council to be headed by the Union finance minister. The council will be empowered to recommend tax rates and exemption and threshold limits for good and services.

Besides, the Bill has proposed a GST Dispute Settlement Authority to deal with grievances of the Centre and the states with regard to GST.

The GST, which is considered to be a major tax reform, has been pending for the last four years due to differences between Centre and some states over the structure of the new tax regime.


Formation of Civil Aviation Authority in final stages: Govt

The proposed CAA, which will have administrative and financial autonomy, is also likely to keep a tab on the entire range of activities-from proper provision of air traffic services and licensing to financial fitness of airlines

New Delhi: The process of setting up an autonomous Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to regulate all aviation safety issues in India is in the final stages with a Cabinet note on it likely to be finalised soon, reports PTI.

The proposed CAA, which would have administrative and financial autonomy, is also likely to keep a tab on the entire range of activities-from proper provision of air traffic services and licensing to financial fitness of airlines.

"A Cabinet note is being prepared. We have sent all the facts. The (civil aviation) ministry will have to forward it to the government," Director General of Civil Aviation EK Bharat Bhushan told PTI here.

The government plans to bring in a legislation to establish the CAA. Mr Bhushan said the CAA would have a "lot of financial, administrative and procedural independence. We will be able to recruit (professionals) directly" instead of routing it through the Union Public Service Commission.

A feasibility study to set up the authority was commissioned in October 2009 in technical cooperation with the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to improve financial and administrative autonomy for discharge of safety oversight functions more effectively.

The ICAO feasibility study was reviewed by the DGCA and the civil aviation ministry last year. The proposal was also endorsed by the US Federal Aviation Administration which said the proposed body would be in line with ICAO policy.

Civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi recently said that the process to set up the CAA was currently on.

The CAA structure of an aviation regulatory body exists in several countries including the UK and Singapore, giving it powers to regulate all safety issues, advising the government on all civil aviation matters, managing national airspace so as to meet the needs of all users, keeping in mind national security, economic and environmental factors.

To questions on the flight duties of pilots and the time limit to be maintained for their duty, Mr Bhushan said a committee headed by civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi has already submitted its report to the ministry.

"The report on FDTL (Flight Duty Time Limitation) has to be formalised and sent to the government for approval," he said.

The FDTL issue had acquired prominence after the crash of an Air India Express aircraft in Mangalore in May last year, which claimed 158 lives.

Asked about the newly-created Tariff Analysis Unit set up in the DGCA to monitor abrupt hikes in air fares, Mr Bhushan said, "We are monitoring it (air fare patterns) very closely.

It is being monitored every day on an hour-to-hour basis."

He replied in the negative when asked whether any trend has been noticed in the recent past.

The DGCA chief said during the Diwali period last year, there was a "scare" when the fares shot up due to high demand but continued to remain at high levels even after the peak season had ended.

"After that, things are pretty well under control.

Even during Christmas, these were okay", he said but did not rule out rise in air fares in the future due to the high global fuel prices which have touched $100 a barrel.


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