In a major push for cashless transactions, PoS machines for credit/debit card as well as Aadhaar-based transactions will be installed at all PDS shops and fertiliser depots over the next few months.
In an interview to PTI, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said over 1.7 lakh PoS machines have already been installed at public distribution system (PDS) shops and more will be done in next few months.
“Both the Department of Food and Civil Supplies and the Department of Fertiliser have a programme to install PoS machines at all PDS shops and fertiliser depots,” he said.
“Also, they will be made Aadhaar-enabled,” he added.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has committed to support banks through the Financial Inclusion Fund for deployment of up to two PoS devices per village, to cover one lakh villages of tier 5 and 6 areas.
When asked about the impact of digital payments on cost savings, he said, “The time is too short to undertake an assessment of that and I think we should give the system a fair time, may be a year or so, to see how much gain we have had.”
He said there is a move towards digitalisation as can be witnessed in the number of people who have downloaded the BHIM and UPI apps and those of other service providers.
“The number of PoS machines which have been sold for example. The PDS shops. There are over 1.70 lakh PDS shops who have installed PoS machines, there are a number of banking correspondents who have now got PoS machines and micro ATMs.
“There is a huge demand, if you talk to PoS machine manufacturers, of people who have ordered PoS machines. There are about a million PoS machines which have been ordered by the banks themselves. So, I think all these will move towards a situation where greater digitalisation of economy will take place,” he said.
He said 68 per cent of bookings of railways are now done through digital mode.
The demand of PoS machines in the country has increased after November 9, 2016, with 2.52 lakh such machines being installed in last two months.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already issued guidelines to prevent PoS fraud and directed the banks to add more security features in credit and debit cards to stop frauds, vide its circular dated May 26, 2016 on upgradation of ATMs and cards.
Also, public sector banks have been advised by the government to structure rental payments in such a manner that the small merchant does not have to pay more than Rs 100 per month rental on installation of PoS terminals.
NABARD has approved a scheme for giving 0.5 per cent incentive on payments made through the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) to merchants.