Cashing in on digital boom! Maharashtra govt to create e-wallet for civic bills

Updated: Dec 30, 2016, 18:26 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

Aiming to cash in on the digital boom as more people take cashless route after demonetisation, Maharashtra announces plan to introduce e-wallet service that will be managed, owned by the state govt

Illustration/Ravi Jadhav

E-wallets like Paytm will soon have competition. Not from another private entrant, but from the state government itself.

The government is working on a war footing to introduce a digital platform where citizens can not only pay their electricity, water bills, and property taxes, but also transfer funds between banks.

A senior government official said after demonetisation, the use of e-wallet services has gone up, but the beneficiaries were private players.

To encourage more people to go for digital transactions, the state is going to push for its own e-wallet services.

“It has been observed that after the PM’s historic move to boost digital transactions among citizens, private firms offering e-wallet services are doing good business. The Maharashtra government is of the opinion that citizens should have similar platforms for services that are actually managed and owned by the public sector or the government itself,” the official added.

In fact, plans are already afoot to make this system a reality, and accordingly, submit a presentation on the same to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for taking the project ahead. “Once this service is thrown open, citizens can pay taxes, power and water bills, and even do fund transfer between banks,” a mid-rank bureaucrat working on the project said.

When asked how long it would take for the state to introduce the system, the official added that the New Year gift is not too far. “In a couple of months, it should be operational,” he said.

On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced discontinuation of R500 and R1,000 notes and introduced R2,000 and new R5,00 notes in the market. Within 48 hours of the announcement, mobile apps Paytm and Ola money and other e-wallet services saw a surge in business. On November 10, mid-day had been the first to report how e-wallet business was skyrocketing.

According to a claim made by Paytm officials, they witnessed a 200 per cent rise in users downloading the app; Ola money recharge, on the other hand, registered a 1,500 per cent growth.

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