UPI Cashless India: a revolution in banking in India
For an economically diverse country like India, there is a pertinent need to reduce the dependence on cash transactions. It will not only hinder tax evaders but will also assist the Indian economy in a variety of ways. For the last year(2016) or so, the government has been working to reduce the dependence of an average Indian on cash. The demonetization done by the government in November 2016 was the first step in this direction. A study done in 2014 projected Rs 21,000 as the cost of cash operations in India, a burden bore by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks. To sum up, at one end the government has the goal of reducing tax evasions, and at the other end, it aims to utilize technology to overcome fiscal constraints. Cashless Indian economy is bound to bring greater transparency in the Indian financial system.
Opening bank accounts and other innovative banking inclusion measures have already been rolled out. It is well understood that technology will play a pivotal role in this endeavor of the government. Launched in January 2016 by National Payments Corporation of India – Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has made internet-based transactions as easy as texting a message. No less than a revolution in many aspects, UPI is considered as one of the most updated public payment gateways in the world. This initiative has the backing and support of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) & Indian Banks Association (IBA).
In simple terms, UPI will provide a unique id for the user with the help of which the customer can transfer money using a smartphone. It will allow the customer to make payments, transfer and receive the amount from his bank account to any merchant or individual. It will be a hassle free transaction possible in both online and offline mode. Passwords, IFSC Code or card details are not required. One can look at this payment gateway as an advanced version of IMPS (Immediate Payments Service).
As of now, approximately 29 banks have started offering this service. UPI aims to do away with the cumbersome process of doing transactions online alongside making it as user-friendly as possible even for the layman. One can download the UPI App from the App Store or the bank’s website. Register yourself, generate the M-PIN and you are ready.
No doubt, UPI will play a vital role in making India surge towards a cashless economy. However, many hurdles are to be crossed, and unanswered questions need viable solutions. Apart from bringing a vast majority of the population in the banking net, the point of sales, which will accept payment through this mode, also need to be increased drastically. Another primary concern is that approximately eight to ninety percent of the total workforce works in the unorganized sector. To take this sector towards the cashless mode will be a mammoth task.
The government and its agencies need a sustained commitment towards this cause as it is bound to take a lot of time. The transition towards the cashless economy will be slow and incentivize cashless transactions will provide the much-needed impetus. The objective should be to reduce the dependence on cash gradually, in various transactions and bring in transparency in the financial system.