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September 20, 2017

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Indian government asks urban bodies to move to e-payment

India -- India's central government has asked all the statutory 4,041 urban local bodies in India to shift to e-payments at the earliest possible time, according to a communique from the Urban Development Ministry.

These cities and towns account for about 75 percent of India's urban population of 400 million. The government's message to the officials of these urban local bodies was conveyed by Rajiv Gauba, Secretary, Urban Development, via interactive video-conference. Senior officials from the states also participated during the half-day interaction in various aspects of ensuring cashless transactions.

The Union Cabinet had on Thursday decided to promote cashless transactions through e-wallet and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for all government bodies/ministries.

"The state- and city-level officials were asked to promote internet banking, online banking using credit and debit cards for cashless transactions, besides using Public Finance Management Systems (PFMS) developed by the Finance Ministry for fund transfer, accounting and reconciliation up to the level of cities and towns," the release said.

Gauba emphasized that all transactions relating to both income and expenditures of urban local bodies need to be shifted to e-payment mode.

These include the payment of property tax, professional tax, all user charges like water and power bills, all kinds of fee and license charges, online booking of community halls, issue and renewal of birth and death certificates, the registration of shops and other establishments and enrolment of library membership. "Expenditure to be made cashless include payment of salaries and wages to all regular and contractual employees, all contract- and work-related payments, procurements and beneficiary payments like social security," said the release. It quoted officials from Madhya Pradesh as saying that seven major cities have already enabled cashless transactions and all 378 cities and towns in the state would do so by March of next year.

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