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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Agri, handicrafts: IT Min seeks proposals for digital payments beyond smartphones

According to the proposal calling for applications from these agencies, the ministry will do a complete mapping of the up and down stream of these supply chains, look into their raw material purchase, sales, as well as association with marketplaces including government’s e-NAM (e -National Agriculture Market).

Written by Aashish Aryan | New Delhi |
Updated: August 16, 2021 5:32:45 am
Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks in the Lok Sabha, on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, July 19, 2021. (LSTV/PTI Photo)

In an attempt to promote digital payments, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has decided to provide financial support to agencies and companies working to promote the virtual payments system in supply chains of agriculture, horticulture and handicrafts industry.

According to the proposal calling for applications from these agencies, the ministry will do a complete mapping of the up and down stream of these supply chains, look into their raw material purchase, sales, as well as association with marketplaces including government’s e-NAM (e -National Agriculture Market).

“The spending thereof also needs to be in digital mode. This would include awareness and capacity building along with merchant on-boarding,” the ministry added.

Apart from this, players which are working to provide some sort of offline payment solutions for areas and geographies which have limited internet connectivity will also be considered for the financial grant, the ministry further said.

“Absence of, or erratic, internet connectivity, especially in remote areas, is a major impediment for adoption of digital payments. Availability of options to make offline payments, using cards, wallets or mobile devices could boost the adoption of digital payments. Proposals are invited around capacity building programmes, promotional campaigns aimed at training merchants with focus on women merchants in these districts,” the proposal by MeitY calling for applications said.

Apart from smartphones, which have easy access to digital payment infrastructure and digital payment systems, the ministry has also called for proposals from players which are working to bring digital payments to feature phones or in local languages.

“Payments through feature phone is not picking up mainly due to the fact that digital payments via feature phones is not easy and highly complicated. Security and drop rates are other areas of concern. Proposals inviting ways to increase the usage of feature phones for performing digital payments by creating awareness, finding new use cases and performing a pilot,” the ministry said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in the Budget for the current financial year, set aside Rs 1,500 crore for a scheme to incentivise digital payments.

“There has been a manifold increase in digital payments in the recent past. To give a further boost to digital transactions, I earmark Rs 1,500 crore for a proposed scheme that will provide financial incentive to promote digital modes of payment,” she had then said in her speech.

Mapping of supply chains

In an attempt to promote digital payments, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has decided to provide financial support to agencies and companies working to promote the virtual payments system in supply chains of agriculture, horticulture and handicrafts industry

According to the proposal calling for applications from these agencies, the ministry will do a complete mapping of the up and down stream of these supply chains, look into their raw material purchase, sales, as well as association with marketplaces including government’s e-NAM

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