digital payments economy
Tripura Government has decided to opt for cashless payment system in public transactions beginning this New Year. To this effect, the government has initiated the process of opening bank accounts including RuPay cards for nearly 20% people who does not have bank accounts till now. Similarly, opening of bank accounts by tea workers is also carried out at a full swing. The government expects to make all transactions in state government departments in digital mode beginning this New Year. The state government is also improving infrastructure at various levels including the government medical college and hospital to help patients make digital transactions.
The union cabinet has approved the ordinance on Payment of Wages Act that relates to the payment of wages. The ordinance facilitates central government administered establishments to pay salaries by cheque or credit salary in employees’ bank accounts. Accordingly, the ordinance will amend Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936. It should be noted that the payment can also be made through existing provisions of payment in currency notes or current coin.
Since Labour is in the concurrent list, the ordinance would not be applicable to the local state administered institutions unless they too adopt this measure. The states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala and Haryana have already made provisions for payment of wages through cheque and electronic transfers by making amendments to their respective state-level Acts.
As the ordinance will be valid for only 6 months, the government needs to pass it in Parliament before that time period. The new ordinance will help to promote digital and cashless economy and will also check under-reporting of salaries and end the exploitation of wage workers. At present, a large chunk of the organised sector like factories, tea gardens and construction companies, pay the wages to their employees by cash.
NITI Aayog has constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers with representatives drawn from different political parties to examine measures to implement and promote the use of digital payment systems in the country. The move is to give a fillip to the adoption of digital payments systems by people at the grass root levels and small businesses.
The committee will include Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, CEO of NITI Aayog and other experts. Chandrababu Naidu (Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh) has been appointed as the Convener of the Committee. The other members include Naveen Patnaik (Chief Minister of Odisha), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh), Pawan Kumar Chamling (Chief Minister of Sikkim), V. Narayanasamy (Chief Minister of Puducherry), Devendra Fadnavis, (Chief Minister of Maharashtra). Apart from the chief ministers, experts from various fields have also been included in the committee.
Different modes of digital payment currently available are: Cards, USSD, digital wallets, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and Unified Payment Interface (UPI).