The government is open to the suggestion to include payments banks in the list of lenders that can offer services like tax and pension payments. A day after the finance ministry lifted an embargo on private-sector banks offering government-related banking transactions, officials said they were also open to including payments banks on the list. They are examining whether the capital structure of the payments banks would be sufficient to offer such services without any disruptions.
On Wednesday the ministry announced that not just designated private-sector banks but all private-sector universal banks could offer taxes and other revenue payment facilities, pension payments and small savings schemes to their customers. “This step is expected to further enhance customer convenience, spur competition and higher efficiency in the standards of customer services. Private sector banks, which are at the forefront of imbibing and implementing latest technology and innovation in banking, will now be equal partners in development of the Indian economy and in furthering the social sector initiatives of the government”, a ministry release noted.
So far, this business was mostly confined to government-run banks. In 2017, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had announced that no financial entity other than the designated banks could offer these fee-based services. The ministry has now made it clear that there is now no bar on the RBI’s authorisation of private-sector banks to offer government business. In India, state and central government entities offer a range of services for a fee that is to be paid made through bank challans. While all challans have been made paperless, the public in urban areas, more accustomed to banking with private-sector banks, now wanted the facility to be extended to these banks as well.