The interbank mobile payment service enables bank customers to make most payments using their mobile phone handsets. Seven banks have adopted the system and several more are joining up
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Monday launched its much-awaited interbank mobile payment service (IMPS), which has the potential to change the payments scenario in the country. According to bankers, this system could revolutionise the retail payments process and even overtake the number of payment transactions carried out through cards and the internet.
Shyamala Gopinath, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said, "We have permitted about 40 banks to offer mobile payments to their customers. The IMPS has the potential to change retail payment scenario in the country."
Although, at present, IMPS is restricted to interbank transactions, it can be used by anyone and anywhere to make a payment. For example, one can pay the grocery bill to the shop owner through mobile, provided both are registered IMPS users with their respective banks. Similarly, one can pay a taxi fare to the taxi driver, directly through IMPS. So, IMPS paves the way for all kinds of payments through banks, from a mobile handset.
At present, Axis Bank, Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India and Yes Bank offer IMPS to customers. Seven other banks are in the process of going live with the service and some 20 banks are at an early stage of adopting IMPS, said AP Hota, managing director and chief executive, NPCI.
In India, there are more than 60 crore mobile phone subscribers, but there are less than 20 crore 'active' bank accounts. Although on record there are about 31 crore savings bank accounts, many of them are either multiple accounts or they are not operational. IMPS could help revive these accounts.
NCPI and the banks enrolled for IMPS currently offer this service free of cost. However, after March 2011 NPCI proposes to charge banks at 25 paise per transaction. It will be up to the banks to decide whether to charge customers for this service, said M Balakrishnan, chief operating officer of NPCI.
He said NPCI has provided a centralised switching system for banks and it is up to the banks to provide a mobile-based application or SMS option for using IMPS. As of now, most of the banks enrolled for IMPS are providing a Java-based mobile application for end customers. Those who do not have Java-based application in the handsets could use the SMS option.
According to RBI guidelines, a customer can transact up to Rs50,000 a day through IMPS, provided he/she is using end-to-end encryption (provided by the bank). Transactions up to Rs1,000 a day can be facilitated by banks without end-to-end encryption.
New Delhi: After a year-long tussle between the civil aviation and environment ministries, the Navi Mumbai airport finally got the green signal today but with riders about resettlement of displaced people and development of mangroves around the site, reports PTI.
"Today, formally the environmental clearance has been given to the Navi Mumbai project. The provisions of building the airport will start from today," environment minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
The announcement was made at a joint press meet with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as also civil aviation minister Praful Patel with whom Mr Ramesh had differences over the Rs8,722 crore project.
The clearance was given on the conditions that 678 hectares of mangroves will be developed in and around the project site, river Gadhi will not be diverted besides 30 other riders which have to be implemented to minimise environmental impacts.
However, a 90-meter high hillock will have to be removed to smoothen the approach to runway and the "tidally influenced waterbody: Ulwe will be recoursed. "A number of safeguards will have to be implemented to ensure that the environmental impact is kept to the minimum," Mr Ramesh said.
With the environment clearance in place, both Mr Chavan and Mr Patel said that bidding process for the development of the airport will be completed and contracts will be awarded within 8-12 months.
The chief minister said that 3,000 families will have to be relocated and expeditious steps were being taken to rehabilitate them.
The prime minister's office has been closely monitoring the progress in building the second airport as the existing Mumbai airport, where additional flights are now being restricted due to saturation, is likely to exhaust its capacity of handling 40 million passengers a year by 2013.
The Navi Mumbai international project will be developed through public-private-participation mode in which the private party will hold 74%, and state-owned City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) will have 13% stake each.
Terming the green clearance as an "extremely significant" step for Mumbai as well as the national economy Patel said, "We have been very concerned at the lack of capacity of the (existing) Mumbai airport and difficulties in expanding it."
While the chief minister said the Navi Mumbai airport project would be developed in four phases, the civil aviation minister urged him to consider developing it in two phases due to the urgency in creating new aviation infrastructure in the face of rapidly growing air traffic.
"I think phases I and II will have to be taken up together due to the capacity crunch at the Mumbai airport. The first phase should be completed by 2014-15 at the most...
One runway at the existing airport will be under daily repair from next year," Mr Patel said.
The proposed airport will have two parallel runways1.55 km apart, even though it was initially suggested that their separation length will be 1.8km. "There is no compromise on technical parameters. The runway separation is as per international requirements for safe and simultaneous operations", Mr Patel said.
The Maharashtra government will soon approach the environment ministry for forest clearance, with MR Ramesh saying it would be granted soon. The state will also move the Mumbai High Court on the issue of cutting mangroves.
Mr Chavan said the site was selected as the most suitable after studying 17 locations.
He said 436 hectares out of 1,160 hectares of land was to be acquired. The CIDCO was already in possession of 66% of the land needed for the airport project, while 12% more was in the possession of the state government.
Regarding the blasting of the hillock to clear up the approach glide-path of aircraft, Mr Ramesh said environmental clearance had already been given for quarrying activities which were on in full-swing.
"I have also asked the state government to set up a high-level advisory and monitoring committee to oversee the implementation of the environmental conditionalities at various stages," the environment minister said.
Non-essential facilities, like hotels and shopping malls, will be located in such areas to ensure development of a mangrove park in the vicinity of the airport.
The project, which had got Union Cabinet approval in 2007, saw the light of the day after hectic negotiations between the environment and civil aviation ministries after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over the delay in the grant of green clearance.
The proposed site in Navi Mumbai is 20km from the main city and 35km from the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
It is expected to handle 10 million passengers in its first operational year, doubling it to 20 million in eight years. The aim is that the airport would have a handling capacity of 40 million passengers by 2030.
New Delhi: The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles today said it expects electric two-wheeler market to witness 100% growth following a Rs95-crore incentive package for the remaining part of the 11th Plan, reports PTI.
As per a scheme approved by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), the government will provide financial incentive for each electric vehicle sold in India during the remaining part of the 11th Plan-2010-11 and 2011-12.
The scheme, effective from 11th November, envisages incentives of up to 20% on ex-factory prices of the vehicles, subject to a maximum limit.
The cap on the incentive will be Rs4,000 for low speed electric two-wheelers, Rs5,000 for high speed electric two-wheelers, Rs60,000 for seven-seater three-wheeler and Rs1 lakh for an electric car.
"This could have an immediate impact on sales of electric two-wheelers. In terms of monthly sales, we expect an immediate doubling of sales," Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles director Sohinder Gill told PTI.
Moreover, those electric vehicle makers who were getting frustrated, will now feel encouraged to grow the market further, he added.
"We have convened a meeting of our members in this week to see how quickly we can pass on the benefits to consumers.
Although these incentives are for the manufacturers to carry out R&D activities and to increase capacities, we will surely pass on partial benefits to the buyers," Gill said.
On an average, electric two-wheelers are priced between Rs25,000 and Rs40,000 depending on the speed range.
As per the notification by the MNRE, the government will take up "dissemination of two wheelers, three wheelers and four wheelers Battery Operates Vehicles (BOV) and R&D and technology demonstration and other activities in the area of Alternative Fuels for Surface Transportation at a total cost of Rs95 crore during the remaining period of the 11th Plan".
For this fiscal, the government will support 20,000 units and 10,000 units of low and high speed two-wheelers respectively, while it will be 80,000 units and 20,000 units in 2011-12.
The government has also decided to incentivise 100 units of three-wheelers and 140 units of passenger cars in the rest of this fiscal, while it will be 166 units and 700 units in the next financial year.
At present, the Indian electric two-wheeler market stands at about 85,000 units annually. Some of the leading electric two-wheeler manufacturers include Hero Electric, Avon Cycles, BSA Motors and Lohia Auto.
In the three-wheeler space, Lohia Auto and Mahindra & Mahindra are present. The four-wheeler market is minuscule with only one player-Mahindra Reva.
MNRE said the manufacturers will have to give at least one year comprehensive warranty, including for batteries, and minimum 30% of the components will have to be indigenous to avail the benefits.
Besides, the companies will have to set up at least 15 service centres across the country to ensure quality and services of the products.
The government will also take up "R&D and technology demonstration projects for various components including battery for 'hybrid electric vehicles', 'plug hybrid electric vehicles', battery operated vehicles and electric/exercise-bike-generator inverter and other such vehicles and their components and activities in this area".
Seeing the potential, some auto majors such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and General Motors are working on to introduce the electric vehicle technology in their existing models across different categories.