The NDA government's demonetisation gambit is being backed up by an effort to move all government transactions to the cashless mode, with the Centre working on a new single window e-payment system that individuals or businesses can use to make payments to any central or State department.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will be issuing a request for proposal (RFP) by December to set up a common e-governance platform for end-to-end transactional experience for a citizen, businesses as well as internal government functions, a senior government official told The Hindu.Elimination of cash
An RFP is issued by an agency to invite bids for a particular project from interested parties.
“We had issued a framework sometime back with an aim that all government departments, ministries, agencies — both from Centre and States — should make their payments system electronic…they should be in a position to collect and make payments in an electronic mode. Our idea is to eliminate use of cash in dealing with government bodies,” the official said.
The official added that while some government departments have introduced electronic payments system, a lot of PSUs, schools and courts have said they lack mechanisms to introduce such a system.
“For all such entities, this will be a single platform… We have done a pilot for the programme. There are large number of government schools, hospitals, courts…anyone can use this.
“So, this is a mammoth project for which we don’t have the capability. There will be a need to cater to thousands of customers, so we need an agency to do it,” the official explained.Not mandatory
While it will not be mandatory for the government bodies to be part of the platform, the IT ministry will “continue to encourage and push” all departments to go cashless.
Last year, the Prime Minister’s Office had also set an ambitious target to shift at least 90 per cent of all government transactions that involve payments or receipts from citizens and businesses to electronic or paperless mode by the end of 2016, replacing the use of cash, demand drafts, cheques and challans in government offices.
The implications of such a platform on corruption will be huge, the official said, adding, “If cash isn’t involved anywhere…there can be no deniability. If someone has taken money, it will be easily traceable.”
The official pointed out that for payments happening out of Central government, over 97 per cent are already electronic.