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A high-level NITI Aayog Committee of Chief Ministers has favoured continuance of service tax exemptions on digital payments beyond December 31, in order to make India a less-cash economy. NITI Aayog, along with Nasscom and telecom operators, will also be launching a dedicated helpline for all digital payments-related queries soon.
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“We want to recommend this (service tax exemptions) to government of India to continue not only beyond December 31, even beyond March 31, and for the future also. If digital currency will be costlier than physical currency, then people will go to physical currency,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said.
Naidu was speaking to reporters after the fourth meeting of Committee of Chief Ministers on digital payment.
Meanwhile, Nasscom, telecom operators, and NITI Aayog have come together to create a dedicated helpline – 14444 – for addressing all queries on digital payments as government strives to attract majority of Indians into making cashless transactions post demonetisation.
Naidu also said plans are afoot to import one million PoS machines to enable cashless payments across India.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said that the Committee of Chief Ministers will present its interim report on digital payments movement to Prime Minister Narendra Modi within a week.
“We are planning a sustainable, long-term, policy to attract a majority in India to move to digital payments through providing incentives…,” Naidu said.
He added that two major breakthroughs using existing infrastructure — Aadhaar Pay and modified versions of USSD and UPI — would be launched soon.
This apart, significant upgrades in technology have been made and new capacities created to enable millions of Indians use digital payments, he said.
An app for UPI and interoperability of USSD and UPI has now been made possible which will be a major push for 600 million Indians to use digital payments.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also said that the Committee is working with NITI Aayog to address existing constraints in connectivity, hardware and technical infrastructure to push cashless transactions.
During the meeting, a presentation was also made on best practices and learnings from other countries for a digital economy in India.
When asked if he has changed his position on demonetisation of higher value currency notes, Naidu said, “We are going to have variable advantages…Even today, there are some problems. People are suffering today for the larger interest of the country. So, we have to appreciate that. “Even in this crisis, people are standing for 4-5 hours in the queue, even now he says it is good for my future…there is a crisis, we have to handle crisis with utmost care. This is what I mean, this is what I stand (for),” Naidu said.