PMO sets ambitious paperless target

All govt departs and ministries have been asked to provide electronic options for all payments and receipts by March 31, 2016.

December 21, 2015 11:21 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:05 am IST - New Delhi:

The Prime Minister’s Office has set an ambitious target to shift at least 90% 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.

To move towards that goal, all government departments and ministries have been asked to provide electronic options for all payments and receipts by March 31, 2016.

Transactional experience

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology or DEITY is working on an end-to-end transactional experience for citizens and businesses to access various services through Internet enabled with a payment gateway interface for online payments, as part of the Digital India mission, a senior official told The Hindu .

“An apex committee under the PMO has mandated a targeted approach to implement digital payments for citizens for across all the e-services of government ministries and departments and set a December 2016 deadline for moving at least 90% of all government payments and receipts online.”

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha is also overseeing the exercise, under which the government has asked departments to consider ‘innovative’ incentives to encourage users to make payments electronically. Departments have been asked to identify what measures may work in their own context to goad payees and payers to switch to paperless transactions.

“The Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile number (JAM) trinity for pushing financial inclusion is a priority, so departments need to adopt modes of electronic payments & receipts for internal and external transactions,” the official said, about the rationale behind the move.

He said the move will also bring an end to misgovernance of the sort seen during the 2G spectrum scam, for instance, when several telecom players, with demand drafts in hand, were scrambling to get spectrum allocations on a first-come, first-served basis.

The government is working on transferring benefits to the poor directly to their bank accounts under a few social sector schemes like MGNREGA using Aadhar-enabled payments or direct credits into their bank accounts, but cash and cheque transactions dominate most of its payouts and receipts from citizens, businessmen as well as other government departments.

Though a few government agencies and public sector firms like MTNL manage their user records digitally and offer anytime-anywhere online payment options, some government agencies still have paper records and manual billing systems, while others have developed electronic records but haven’t integrated digital payment options.

As many as 46 departments have already been integrated with a generic portal for e-payments that DEITY is launching, which will also host a repository of forms and services offered by different departments. Another 30 departments are in different stages of integration, officials said.

Industry participants, including small payment banks and mobile payment solution providers approved by the Reserve Bank of India, are expected to meet top DEITY officials on Tuesday to discuss a framework.

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