Nilekani’s Way Forward
Some recommendations of the RBI-appointed Nandan Nilekani committee on digital payments:
- No-KYC wallets with a maximum value of Rs 2,000 and monthly spending capped at Rs 10,000
- Digital payments by citizens to all government and public sector agencies
- Removal of all charges on digital payment transactions
- Extension of RuPay and BHIM UPI overseas to facilitate easy remittance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project—JAM (Jan-Aadhaar-Mobile)—got a shot in arm recently when the five-member panel under Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani, formed by the Reserve Bank of India, projected that per capita digital transactions in India are set to increase from 22 in March 2019 to 220 by March 2022. The panel also said that the number of digital transaction users in the country would rise from 100 million to 300 million over the next three years. The numbers may look pleasing, but the ground left uncovered is still huge in a country with a population of 1,350 million (as of June).
In its first tenure, the Modi government took a series of measures to force a shift to cashless transactions on the people—the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) to bring more people into the banking system, demonetisation to reduce disposable cash with people and introducing direct benefit transfer (DBT) to bank accounts for around two dozen government schemes. But cash continues to rule the roost. Kalpana, who hails from West Bengal and works as a maid in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, has a Jan Dhan account with a RuPay card, but doesn’t know how to use an ATM. She has an Aadhaar number, but her address registered with the Unique Identification Authority of...