By: Narvijay Yadav
Small businessmen and entrepreneurs play a big role in boosting the economy in India. It is also a truth that this section of micro, small and middle enterprises (MSMEs) had been left to face the most difficulties in the previous regimes. Whether it is the issue of getting a loan from the bank or the conditions for completing the paperwork to start or continue the business. They also face difficulties in learning new techniques. Without knowing the technology, one cannot even imagine getting ahead in today’s time. The pandemic has increased the dependence on technology even more. However, smartphones have eased the challenge of technology to a great extent. With a mobile in every hand, all those tasks are happening quickly, which used to take months earlier. The business owners had to deal with corruption also, that’s a separate story. Whether to make a payment or receive it, everything has become so easy through a mobile phone.
Keeping all this in mind, the Union Information Technology (IT) Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has entrusted an important responsibility to the banking sector. Rather, he has presented a challenge to the banks. Vaishnav has asked to create an innovative and unique digital platform for easy loan to small and medium scale traders (MSMEs). For this, he has given three months time to the banks. For this, the ecosystem required like Aadhaar, mobile phones, UPI platform and DigiLocker etc. is already in place. Digital payments are already very popular in our country. In the year 2016-17, the digital payment, which was Rs 1,004 crore, increased five times this year to Rs 5,554 crores. Nearly one billion cards and over two billion prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) such as internet wallets, mobile wallets, mobile accounts and digital payment modes have made our country one of the fastest growing and largest markets in the world for digital payments.
In the month of October alone, 421 crore transactions were done through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) during festive shopping. The markets of rural areas and towns gave further push to this spectacular trend. UPI payments grew 100 per cent year-on-year to Rs 7.7 lakh crore in October month. A report by Motilal Oswal states that the share of UPI market is increasing continuously. Transactions through mobile app up to April 2020 of the value of Rs 112 crore, increased in June 2021 to Rs 370 crores level and as a result its value stood at Rs 3.6 Lakh Crore to Rs 11.4 lakh crores. The emphasis is on digital payments through the Payments Infrastructure Development Fund scheme of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The scheme aims to create 30 lakh merchant touch points every year from January 1, 2022. According to a RBI report, 2.7 lakh POS (point of sales) terminals were added in India in the first nine months of this year, taking the total number to 49.7 lakh by the end of September. The RBI report said that private sector banks hold a major share (67 per cent) of the POS terminal market, while 26 per cent is held by public sector banks, including HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, SBI and UCO Bank. (The author is a senior journalist & columnist, he can be reached at [email protected])