The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre on Wednesday notified a committee of chief ministers to examine and implement digital payment systems across the nation. It will be headed by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu.
The aims of the committee would be to promote transparency, financial inclusion and ensure a healthy financial ecosystem.
The notification was delayed by a couple of days as some of the chief ministers of Opposition parties, particularly Bihar (Nitish Kumar) and Tripura (Manik Sarkar), had expressed their inability to be part of the committee.
The committee has representatives from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress
and regional parties. The 12-member committee also includes experts.
At present it chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh (N Chandrababu Naidu), Odisha (Naveen Patnaik), Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj Singh Chouhan), Sikkim (Pawan Kumar Chamling), Puducherry (V Narayanasamy) and Maharashtra (Devendra Fadnavis).
party sources said they would take a call on whether Narayanasamy would attend panel meetings or not. He was in New Delhi on Wednesday to visit Congress
President Sonia Gandhi who is not keeping well.
The government, particularly during the discussion on demonetisation
in the Rajya Sabha, has been accused of failing to take either non-BJP
parties on board or state governments, and of departing from its ideal of “cooperative federalism”. By constituting this committee, the government is attempting to expand consultations.
Prime Minister Modi has been appealing to the people to move to a “less cash economy” by adopting digital payments
to reduce incident of black money and increase integration with the formal banking system.
Arvind Panagariya, the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, is also a member; Amitabh Kant, the chief executive officer of NITI Aayog, will be the member-secretary.
Special invitees to the committee are Nandan Nilekani, the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Janmejaya Sinha, the chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, Rajesh Jain the managing director of netCORE, Sharad Sharma, the co-founder of iSPIRIT, and Jayant Varma, professor (finance) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.
The terms of reference of the committee, include implementation of digital payment systems in India and economic growth with financial inclusion and equity.
“By enabling broader access and participation in the financial system, the Government aims to reduce income inequality, boost job creation, accelerate consumption, increase investments in human capital and help the poor families to manage risk and absorb financial shocks,” the notification said.
It stated that digitisation of payments would significantly enhance financial inclusion by overcoming physical barriers and would thus enhance access to financial services rapidly. In addition, it would also enable formalisation of all financial transactions thus increasing transparency and plugging leakages from the system.
The NITI Aayog has been entrusted with the task of undertaking a campaign to implement digital payments
systems and it has been working on an awareness campaign to popularize the different modes of digital payment.
The committee has been tasked with identifying global best practices, examine the possibility of adoption of these global standards in the Indian context, suggest ways for rapid expansion and adoption of the system of digital payments
and broadly indicate the road map to be implemented in one year.
It would also evolve an action plan to create awareness among the public, prepare a roadmap for the administrative machineries in the states, identify and address bottlenecks and consult with key stakeholders.