New Delhi: In the last four-and-a-half years the government has worked extensively to ramp up the digital banking and payments infrastructure of the country, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday in his address to the joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament.

“Jan Dhan Yojana is playing an important role in facilitating cost-effective digital transactions in the country through more than 60 crore Rupay debit cards and BHIM app," he said.

Digital payments through the unified payment interface (UPI) received a major stimulus after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app on 30 December 2016.

UPI is a payments system launched by the NPCI, the umbrella organisation for all retail payments in India. It facilitates instant fund transfers between two bank accounts on a mobile platform without requiring any detail of the beneficiary’s bank account.

The payments system has been setting new records over the last one year. In December, 620.17 million UPI transactions worth 102,594.82 crore were conducted, a new record. Of the total UPI transactions in December, 17.06 million, amounting to 7,589.19 crore, took place through the BHIM platform.

“Similarly the government is bringing banking services closer to the people through the India Post Payments Bank," Kovind added.

IPPB has been incorporated as a public sector company under the department of posts with 100% government equity and is governed by the RBI. The bank was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 September, 2018, with the aim of increasing access to banking services in rural areas.

The president also praised work done by Common Service Centres (CSCs) — access points with basic computing infrastructure run and operated by a local entrepreneur who lives in the same community. It is an integral part of the Digital India initiative of the government to foster financial inclusion in the country.

“Establishment of CSCs has been accelerated to ensure that various benefits and services are easily available to brothers and sisters in rural areas. In these centres, facilities like banking, insurance, pension and scholarship etc are being made available online to the village folk," Kovind said. “In 2014 there were only 84,000 Common Service Centres. Today, their number has increased to more than 3 lakhs. Of these, 2 lakh and 12,000 centres have been set up in village panchayats."

Kovind also said that schemes linked with the Digital India programme had proved to be beneficial, especially for those living in the rural parts of the country.

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