NITI Aayog forms panel to pave way for digital economy

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Policy think-tank NITI Aayog on Wednesday constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers and experts to script an action plan and draw up a roadmap to implement the digital payment systems across the country.

“The Committee will examine and implement measures for promoting the use of digital payment systems across the country and usher in transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy ecosystem,” said an official statement here.

With Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as its Convener, the Committee has Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya as its members.

NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant will be the Member Secretary.

Sources said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also contacted Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and requested them to become members of the Committee, but both leaders declined.

Kumar has supported the government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Five experts from diverse fields will assist the Committee as special invitees in formulating the action plan and preparing the roadmap to implement the digital payments systems with the participation of people across the country.

The experts are former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani, Boston Consulting Group Chairman Janmejaya Sinha, netCORE Managing Director Rajesh Jain, iSpirit Co-Founder Sharad Sharma and IIM-Ahmedabad Professor (Finance) Jayant Varma.

The committee’s terms of reference say it will identify the global best practices for implementing an economy primarily based on digital payments and their adoption in the Indian context.

It will outline measures for rapid expansion and adoption of the digital payments systems like cards (debit, credit pre-paid), digital wallets or e-wallets, internet banking, Unified Payments Interface and banking applications.

“The Committee shall evolve an action plan to reach out to the public with the objective of creating awareness and help them understand the benefits of such a switchover to digital economy,” said the statement.

Other terms include preparing a roadmap for the administrative machinery in the states to adopt digital modes of financial transactions and to identify and address the bottlenecks and indicate solutions for moving towards a digital payments economy.

It will also associate key stakeholders to implement steps for a digital economy, delineate and adopt its measures and address any issue not in the terms of reference, noted the statement.

The committee will be free to devise its own procedures for conducting business, meetings and setting up of sub-groups.

“Digitisation of payments will enable financial inclusion by overcoming physical barriers and enhance access to financial services. It will also enable financial transactions, transparency and plug leakages,” the statement added.

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) was set up on January 1, 2015, with the Prime Minister as its ex-officio Chairman, for a bottom-up approach and to make the country move towards cooperative federalism. IANS

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