New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government joined hands with search engine giant Google and other payment service providers Thursday to roll out ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan’ for the purpose of increasing awareness about cashless payment and online financial security.
The campaign was announced in the presence of Information Technology (IT) Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at a Google-organised event, ‘Google for India’.
With this, Google has gone a step ahead in expanding its payments service to its users in India. Other payment service providers, which partnered with the government, included National Payments Corporation of India, Axis Bank, BharatPe, GPay, which is Google’s own payment service, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa.
Prasad urged Google to use its technology to help take India’s digital economy to $1 trillion by contributing to avenues like “digital payments, digital services, e-commerce in various forms”.
“…We are very keen to make India one trillion-dollar digital economy,” he added.
WhatsApp yet to get nod for launching its payments service
Meanwhile, WhatsApp is yet to receive the government’s approval to expand its payments service in India. Currently, the Facebook-owned messaging app runs its payments service on a pilot basis.
WhatsApp is, at present, under the scanner of the Supreme Court for data localisation. The top court had asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in August to report on whether WhatsApp had complied with data localisation norms as it gears up to launch its payments service.
An advocate, privy to the case, told ThePrint on condition of anonymity that the RBI is likely to respond to the SC in November.
The government and Facebook also continue to be “at odds” over traceability of messages on WhatsApp. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs and communications, reportedly met Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Prasad recently during which the issue was discussed.
‘Google Pay for Business’ launched
At the event, Google announced the launch of another payments service — ‘Google Pay for Business’ — to cater to small and medium merchants in an apparent bid to give competition to WhatsApp.
Google also announced an increase in its investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI). In a press statement, the tech giant said it is setting up ‘Google Research India’ lab in Bengaluru to advance “India’s knowledge in AI”.
This apart, Google is increasing its efforts in providing Wi-Fi to the people and has partnered with BSNL to make the wireless internet facility available in villages of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bihar, according to the press statement.
It also launched ‘The Vodafone-Idea Phone Line’ to help people in the rural areas, where internet connection is weak, get information about everything. Vodafone-Idea users can dial toll-free number, 000 800 9191 000, and seek information, which will be provided to them by Google via the phone call.