Finance Ministry today invited comments from stakeholders on the Watal committee report on promoting digital payments, which has suggested a separate regulator to deal with issues concerning payment, among others. The report of the committee, which was set up last August under the chairmanship of Ratan Watal, Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog, to review medium term measures necessary to promote digital payment, was made public yesterday. “Comments/suggestions from the members of public are requested within 15 days of hosting the Report on the website of the Ministry of Finance. Decision on the Report will be taken after considering the comments/suggestions received on the Report,” an official statement said.
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Stating that the overall objective of the government’s digital initiative is to halve the cash to GDP ratio to six per cent over the next three years, the report suggested a host of fiscal incentives to promote digital transactions.
It suggested withdrawal of all charges levied by government departments and utilities on digital payments and making it mandatory for government departments and agencies to provide option to consumers to pay digitally. Besides, there should be incentives for consumers to make payments (including payment of fines and penalties) to government electronically by giving a discount or cash back and enable consumers to make payments (including taxes) to government through suitable digital means like cards and wallets.
The report also suggested putting a special emphasis on digital payments for recurring low value transactions and reducing custom duties on payments acceptance equipment. On making regulation of payments independent from the function of central banking, it said the panel weighed two options on how best this could be implemented.
The first was to create a new payments regulator and the other, to make the current Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS) within RBI more independent.
The committee also suggested instituting awards to promote digital transaction.
Following submission of the report on December 9, most of the recommendations have already been implemented by the government in its effort to make India a less-cash economy.
“Feedback/comments on the said Report may be sent to the Coin and Currency Division of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, at firstname.lastname@example.org,” the statement added.