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HomeEconomy‘Pay safe, stay safe’: Modi govt encourages digital payment amid coronavirus scare

‘Pay safe, stay safe’: Modi govt encourages digital payment amid coronavirus scare

The move comes at a time when India has reported 169 coronavirus cases and the government is trying to encourage social distancing to curb its spread.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government and other stakeholders in India’s digital payment system have taken to social media to encourage the use of online payments and discourage cash usage to curb the spread of the coronavirus across the country.

The move comes at a time when India has reported 169 coronavirus cases and the government is trying to encourage social distancing and other steps to delay India’s transition to a situation where the virus could be transmitted within communities — known as community transmission.

It remains unclear whether handling currency notes could hasten the spread of the virus, but officials are not taking any chances.

‘Safest way of payments’

On Thursday, Niti Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant tweeted a 5-second video encouraging Indians to use digital payments. “Safest way to make payments: Use Digital Payments only to ensure social distancing and defeat COVID-19 together. Pay safe, stay safe,” he wrote.

The Twitter handle of the Department of Financial Services under the Ministry of Finance also had a similar message, urging people to use the Indian greeting style ‘namaste’ and digital payments to battle the virus.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) managing director and CEO Dilip Asbe tweeted this with a short video: “A safe way to pay. A safer way to stay healthy. Use digital payment options and avoid social contact.”

NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, and handles products like Unified Payments Interface, or UPI — a simplified payments system, Bharat Interface for Money or the Bhim app, card payment system Rupay and real-time money transfer system, IMPS.

Many senior officials of start-ups and bodies like the Payments Council of India are also taking part in the campaign to encourage the use of digital means of making payments.

Digital payments in India are gaining traction though cash is still widely used. According to the Reserve Bank of India, the volume of digital payments is increasing at a compounded annual growth rate of 61 per cent even as cash withdrawals from ATMs are also increasing sharply.


Also read: Is COVID-19 a biological weapon and can neem or hot bath prevent it? Fact-checking 24 claims


 

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