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DigiDhan Mission

The Digital India Programme envisions transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by making available digital governance and digital services to every citizen. Promotion of digital payments ecosystem is an essential aspect of Digital India programme and has the potential to transform Indian economy by extending inclusive financial services.

The Government of India in the Union Budget for 2017-18, announced the setting up of a Mission for promotion of digital payments with a target of 2,500 crore digital transactions during the financial year through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Pay, IMPS and Debit cards.

Consequent upon the allocation of Business Rules vide the Cabinet Secretariat Notification No.1/21/1/2017.Cab dated 15th February 2017, MeitY was assigned the responsibility of “Promotion of Digital Transactions including digital payments”. Accordingly, DIGIDHAN Mission was set up at MeitY in June 2017 for promotion of digital payments, with the following objectives:

  • Promotion of Digital Payments through all digital payment modes including UPI, USSD, IMPS, BHIM Aadhaar Pay and Debit Cards;
  • Promoting and overseeing the establishment, growth and sustenance of a robust, secure and inclusive National Digital Payments ecosystem;
  • Development of convenient digital payment modes and digital payment acceptance infrastructure to enable seamless digital payments and wider adoption of digital payments by the citizens, across the country
  • Awareness creation about benefits of digital payments through promotional campaign, training and education
  • Evolving and facilitating appropriate standards for efficient, affordable and secure Digital Payments Services;
  • Ensuring security of digital payments ecosystem.

The DIGIDHAN Mission has been the primary catalyst to promote the digital payment ecosystem in India. Digital payments transactions have steadily been increasing since last few years. The total transaction volume has increased from 1,004 crore in FY 2016-17 to 5,554 crore in FY 2020-21.

Financial Year & Volume of Transactions (in Crore)
Financial Year Volume of Transactions (in Crore)
2016-17 1,004
2017-18 2,071
2018-19 3,134
2019-20 4,572
2020-21 5,554

Growth of Digital Payments

UPI transactions - Reaching new heights

BHIM-UPI transactions have grown exponentially in past few years, particularly in FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21.


National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC)

National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) system enables the customer to make the electronic payment at NETC enabled toll plaza on the highway without stopping at the toll using RFID technology. From 15th February 2021 all lanes at National Highway toll plaza were declared as dedicated FASTag Lane except for one Hybrid lane. Growth of NETC transactions are given below:


Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) provides an interoperable and easily accessible recurring and bill payment service to consumers via multiple channels like Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Mobile Apps, UPI, etc. At present, billers from 18 categories across India are being on-boarded on BBPS.


Growth in Digital Payments during COVID

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us one more benefit of digital payments, its role in enabling healthcare. Equipped with contactless payment modes like UPI QR code, NFC enabled cards digital payments is complimenting the “new normal” of social distancing. During the coronavirus crisis, digital payments have been keeping economy running and helping people reduce contact with virus”.


Major initiatives taken by the DigiDhan Mission

a. Coordination with Banks: Year wise digital payment transaction targets have been allocated to the Public and Private Sector Banks for promotion of digital payments along with Merchant acquisition targets. A concept of Score Card, wherein Banks are being ranked based on their performance of various policy parameters, has been introduced by MeitY.

b. Coordination with Ministries / Departments /States: Promotion of digital payments and enabling digital payment acceptance infrastructure have been taken up in coordination with Ministries / Departments /States . Issues faced by Ministries/Departments/States have been taken up with appropriate authorities, including NPCI, Banks and RBI, for appropriate resolution.

c. Incentive Schemes: To catalyse the adoption of digital payments, Government has launched various schemes for incentivizing merchants, individuals and banks. The following major schemes were implemented as a part of Promotion of Digital Payments:

MDR Reimbursement Schemes have ended on 31.12.2019. The MDR scheme for low value transactions being implemented by MeitY has given the required impetus for the promotion of low value transactions in the country.

  • BHIM Cashback schemes for Individuals & Merchants: In line with Budget announcement for FY 2017-18, to increase the adoption of digital payments by individuals along with merchants. These incentives schemes were launched wherein individuals and merchants were receiving incentives for making & accepting digital payments over BHIM App.
  • BHIM Aadhaar Merchant Incentive Scheme: BHIM Aadhaar is a merchant version of Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS). BHIM Aadhaar is specifically beneficial for people who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets, and mobile phones. This scheme was launched wherein merchants adopting BHIM Aadhaar as a payment mode were incentivized.
  • BHIM-UPI Merchant On-boarding Scheme: Under the scheme, incentives were awarded to banks for on-boarding merchants on BHIM-UPI platform.
  • MDR Reimbursement Scheme:To promote digital payment transactions in the country, MeitY was implementing the following Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) Reimbursement Schemes, wherein MDR claims of the acquiring banks were being reimbursed by the Government:
    • MDR Reimbursement Scheme on transactions of value up to Rs.2,000 done through Debit cards/ BHIM Unified Payments Interface (UPI)/ Aadhaar Pay
    • MDR Reimbursement Scheme on Government receipts up to Rs.1 lakh for transactions made through Debit cards

    MDR Reimbursement Schemes have ended on 31.12.2019. The MDR scheme for low value transactions being implemented by MeitY has given the required impetus for the promotion of low value transactions in the country.

d. Internationalization of indigenous digital payment solutions (RuPay Cards & UPI): Indigenously developed RuPay cards and BHIM-UPI are world class platforms for enabling digital payments. Several countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have displayed an inclination towards establishing a ‘real time payment system’ or ‘domestic card scheme’ and wish to replicate our model in their country. Government is making efforts to promote these products globally.

e. Digital Payments Dashboard: DIGIDHAN Dashboard (https://digipay.gov.in) has been developed to create a platform for reporting, monitoring and analysis of digital payments transactions occurring in the country and enablement of infrastructure through deployment of Physical/Mobile/BHIM Aadhaar PoS devices. It collects data from multiple sources including Banks, NPCI, RBI, Ministries/ Departments, States/UTs and Smart Cities and provides meaningful visualization of digital payment status in the country. DigiDhan Dashboard provides valuable inputs for prioritizing efforts for promotion of digital payments. An interactive chatbot ' Digidhan Mitra' has been developed in the Dashboard which is powered by artificial intelligence to provide on-demand data and information from Digidhan Dashboard. Digidhan Mitra chatbot is designed to have a text voice based conversation with the user. It mines the Digidhan portal to give customized information in graphical, tabular and textual format. It can handle queries in English and Hindi language.

f. Promotion and Awareness for Digital Payments: Promotion and awareness campaign has been initiated to encourage citizens to use digital payments. Multiple digital payment advertisements have been released on Digital India and MeitY’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) promoting the use of digital payments during festive seasons such as Diwali, Bhai Dooj, Christmas, New Year, Republic Day and Independence day.

Future Impact

The digital payment landscape in India is undergoing a massive transformation. Indian consumers have shown tremendous affinity to digital technology leading to rapid growth of digital payment infrastructure. The payment ecosystem comprises of Banks, Fin-tech and Startups. Presently, Major technology players, with large user base, are using UPI platform for providing payment services. They are playing vital role in expansion of digital payments. Forward looking Regulatory and Government policies, industry-led collaborative decision making and adoption of new technologies in digital payments have made India to shine on the world map.

Merchant payments are one of the most effective methods to inculcate the positive behavioral change towards usage of digital payments modes. The merchants are adopting multiple channels for accepting digital payments: BHIM-UPI, QR code (PPI & UPI), PoS & BHIM Aadhaar Pay.

Digital platforms like BHIM UPI, RuPay,One Nation One Card (NCMC) and Aadhaar based payment systems continue to be lauded as innovations worldwide. The indigenous RuPay and BHIM UPI also aspire to expand its footprints in the international markets. The efforts are to enable countries where large number of Indian diaspora resides, popular tourist locations, high foreign inward remittances and trade. BHIM UPI acceptance is live in Singapore.

While the quest for a less-cash society continues, the endeavor is to also ensure increased efficiency, uninterrupted availability of safe, secure, accessible and affordable payment systems as also to serve segments of the population which are hitherto untouched by the payment systems. The decade to follow will witness a revolutionary shift in the way Indian citizens use digital payment options and will also empower them with an e-payment experience that will be exceptionally safe, secure and truly world class.

Important Links

Links (URL) related with digital payments, are given below: