The centre on Wednesday set up a committee of chief ministers, including two Opposition chief ministers, to boost digital payment systems. While Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has been named convener of the 13-member panel, Naveen Patnaik (BJD) from Odisha and V Narayanasamy (Congress) from Puducherry have been made members. The name of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was approached by the government, does not figure in the list of members. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had spoken to Nitish as well Patnaik, who had both backed the demonetisation decision.
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The other members of the panel are BJP Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra), Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya and its CEO Amitabh Kant. Kant has been made Member Secretary. Former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani and four other experts have been included in the panel as special invitees.
The decision to involve Opposition chief ministers is being seen as a move by the government to ward off criticism, with the Opposition protesting in Parliament over the demonetisation decision and the “distress” that it has caused to the people.
According to the terms of reference, the panel will identify and address bottlenecks and indicate solutions
pertaining to adoption of digital modes of financial transactions. It will prepare a roadmap for the administrative machinery in the states to facilitate adoption of digital modes of financial transactions.
The committee will examine measures to implement digital payment systems to promote transparency, financial inclusion and ensure a healthy financial ecosystem. It will identify the global best practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payment and examine the possibility of adoption of these global standards in the Indian context.
It will also outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the digital payment system like cards (debit, credit and pre-paid), digital wallets/ e-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), banking apps and indicate the roadmap to be implemented in one year.
“It shall evolve an action plan to reach out to the public at large with the objective to create awareness and help them understand the benefits of such a switchover to digital economy,” government sources said.