Q Why is it in News?
Recently, the Government of India, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance hosted Merchant Digitization Summit 2021: towards Atma Nirbhar (Self Reliance) Bharat.
- The Summit brought together leaders from the public and private sectors to accelerate responsible digitization of merchants in India's North-Eastern and Himalayan regions, and Aspirational districts.
Q What were the highlights of summit?
- Empowering women merchants who play critical roles in their communities is one of the priorities to help achieve the mission of Digital India.
- The National Language Translation Mission can be used to disseminate digital payments information, privacy clauses and consent in local languages for trust and empowerment.
- Identified opportunities to address the challenges of connectivity, access to smartphones, and digital literacy for merchants at the last mile.
- Along with the increased focus on ‘Make in India’ through Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme, responsible digitization must include rural networks such as Self Help Groups and community enablers.
- This will lead to creation of the local digital ecosystems to help millions of merchants join the formal economy, access credit, and grow their business.
- From an average of 2-3 billion digital transactions monthly, India has set an ambitious target for 1 billion digital transactions per day.
- Person to Merchant (P2M) digital payment transactions will scale to 10-12 billion transactions every month to contribute to India’s digital economy.
Q What are recent initiatives in this regard?
- Digital Payments Index.
- Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) scheme.
- Relaxations in Merchant Discount Rate.
Q What is this Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA)?
Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) is a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to responsible digital payments to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
- It was launched by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citigroup, the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and Visa Inc.
- It is based at the United Nations.
- It was created in 2012.
Q Which are its Member Countries?
The Alliance has 75 members which are committed to digitizing payments in order to boost efficiency, transparency, women’s economic participation and financial inclusion, helping build economies that are digital and inclusive.
- Members do not want to abolish physical cash but rather want to provide responsible digital payment options that are “better than cash”.
- India became a member of the Better Than Cash Alliance in 2015 to digitize payments to achieve financial inclusion and to share success stories from Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the world's largest financial inclusion program.