Oil marketing firms working to boost digital payments: Dharmendra Pradhan

Oil minister says a three-pronged strategy has been adopted—rapid expansion of digital payment infrastructure, spreading awareness, and incentivizing consumers


The volume of daily cashless transactions has increased from Rs150 crore to Rs400 crore per day since the 8 November demonetization of high-value banknotes that created a cash crunch. Photo: Hindustan Times
The volume of daily cashless transactions has increased from Rs150 crore to Rs400 crore per day since the 8 November demonetization of high-value banknotes that created a cash crunch. Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Oil marketing companies (OMCs) plan to adopt more innovative measures to promote digital payments across fuel retail outlets, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed a parliamentary panel on Friday.

Pradhan said a three-pronged strategy had been adopted for digitization—rapid expansion of digital payment infrastructure at fuel stations, a campaign to spread awareness, and incentivizing consumers to opt for digital payments.

The volume of daily cashless transactions has increased from Rs150 crore to Rs400 crore per day since the 8 November demonetization of high-value banknotes that created a cash crunch.

So far, 38,128 retail outlets have been equipped with point-of-sale (PoS) machines. More than 86% of the outlets have infrastructure for digital payment transactions.

“Most of the petrol pumps have opted for digital infrastructure such as micro ATMs and e-wallets since demonetization. However, the cashless drive can be accelerated further with the adoption of BharatQR or a standardized quick response (QR) code across all the retail outlets,” said Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, a payment company.

To incentivize cashless payments, Pradhan said that the government had on 8 December announced a discount of 0.75% for purchase of petrol/diesel through credit/debit cards and e-wallets, at fuel retail outlets run by OMCs. It came into effect from 13 December.

The burden of the discount is being borne by state-owned OMCs Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL).

The oil ministry tweeted later in the day that it is exploring options to deliver petroleum products to consumers at their doorsteps on pre-booking.

“This would help consumers avoid spending excessive time and long queues at fuel stations,” said the tweet. The move is part of customer-centric steps being taken by the ministry.

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