New Delhi, Jagran Bureau. The data released by the Reserve Bank shows that the efforts made to reduce cash from the system through demonetisation have failed in a way. In November 2016, the country’s banking system had Rs 10.97 lakh crore in cash. It has increased by 57 percent to Rs 28.30 lakh crore in October, 2021. Meanwhile, the pace of digital payments has picked up unprecedentedly, but the government and the RBI are not very happy with it. The assessment also revealed that the emphasis on cash in rural areas has increased significantly, but the system of digital payments there is still inadequate.

In such a situation, it has been decided by the RBI and the government to give more emphasis on increasing the prevalence of Point of Sales (Digital Payment Acceptance Machine) in rural areas. For this, the help of Payment Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) scheme will be taken. PIDF has been formed on January 1, 2021. Its objective is to accelerate the work of digital payments in Tier 3 to Tier 6 cities with small population. This fund is subsidized to agencies that provide the necessary infrastructure for digital payments. The fund currently has an amount of Rs 614 crore.

According to the RBI data, a total of 57.82 lakh devices have been installed in cities with medium to very small population (more than five thousand population) with the help of this fund till September 2021. Recently, the government had decided that this fund would also be used to provide digital payment facilities to the street vendors of the city. Its major expansion will now be in rural areas.

Lack of smart phone is the biggest obstacle in the way of digital payment

Government sources say that the biggest obstacle in the way of digital payments in rural areas is that shopkeepers there do not have smart phones. Apart from this, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) are also lacking. To address this shortcoming, work is needed at several levels.

Will help in reducing cash circulation

The way the PDIF scheme is working in small towns, if attention is given to the commercial centers (shops and businessmen) of rural areas, then digital payments can be encouraged. This will also help in reducing the cash spread. There is a constant discussion between the RBI and the Finance Ministry about what other steps should be taken to promote digital transactions in rural areas.

Edited By: Ramesh Mishra