The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP,) completed eight years in power today. In its eight years of tenure, the Modi government has launched many breakthrough initiatives, including the transition to digital payment. While there is more than enough evidence to show that the BJP under Narendra Modi has managed to buck economic headwinds to its political fortunes, there can be little doubt that both the government and the BJP would like to revive the economy as soon as they can.
Besides carving out an image for himself as a global leader, PM Modi has also enhanced India’s position in the world. And one of the less talked about ways in which the PM has been able to strengthen India’s geopolitical ties is through soft diplomacy. Since Modi came to power, he has toured several countries and also helped leaders from other parts of the world to visit India and strengthen the ties between Indian and other countries. During his visit to the other nations, he also gifted them with souvenirs representing Indian Culture and artistry of India, or sometimes were a symbol of the shared heritage or historical ties with the host nation. Modi’s well thought out gifts for his foreign hosts has made headlines more than a few times.
Before the Modi government took charge of the office, due to a lack of proper digital infrastructure, India’s payment ecosystem ran mostly on physical modes – cash, cheques, etc. – even though the option of e-payments existed. There was a drastic change after the Modi government came into reign. A digital payment ecosystem was enhanced by the government. Digitization became the mode of payment in all segments of society.
40 percent of global real-time digital payments happened in India in the last year. In the span of 8 years, the Modi government has transformed the world of digital payments significantly, with the value of digital payments in India predicted to touch $1 trillion by the financial year 2026.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) was started on 1st January 2013, as per the information available on the official government website. The scheme’s aim was to reform the Government delivery system, ensure accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication of beneficiaries, and reduction of fraud. Now, till the year 2022, large volumes of money have been transferred directly to the beneficiaries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several initiatives up till now to minimize the dependency on cash transactions. Demonetisation marked the beginning of the way Indians would be making payments in the future. On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ‘demonetization’ to rid the country of black money. The ban on currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations effectively wiped out 86 percent of India’s currency overnight.
The Modi government, back in 2017-18, announced the mission to make each and every household in the country digitally literate. This marked the beginning of the Digi Dhan Mission. “The Digital India Programme envisions transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by making available digital governance and digital services to every citizen. Promotion of digital payments ecosystem is an essential aspect of Digital India program and has the potential to transform Indian economy by extending inclusive financial services.”
The UPI-powered Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) was one of the first apps to complete digital payments using the Universal Payments Interface (UPI). In 2017, PM Modi launched the M-Aadhaar platform for merchants to facilitate digital payments. The biometric-based indigenous payment solution enables real-time bank-to-bank money transfers even for those who do not have a phone at no extra cost.
e-RUPI was yet another significant decision taken by the Central government to ease the process of vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, via video conferencing, launched e-RUPI- a digital solution to allow cashless payment for COVID-19 vaccination. The digital payment solution was developed with the support of DFS (Department of Financial Services) and NHA (National Health Authority) and is powered by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), as per the information available on the government’s website. This seamless one-time payment mechanism enabled users to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or internet banking access, at the merchants accepting UPI e-Prepaid Vouchers. The e-RUPI would be shared with the beneficiaries for a specific purpose or activity by organizations via SMS or QR code.
Digital payments are now used by over 300 million Indian smartphone users, as per a report released by Phone Pe.
Deposits in bank accounts opened under the government’s Jan Dhan scheme, which was launched about seven and a half years ago, have surpassed Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Under the PMJDY scheme, some of the financial services that are offered to individuals are pension, insurance, and banking. The Indian Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in order to provide financial services and products to individuals who do not have access to a bank account.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained the most popular global leader with an approval rating of 71%, according to a survey undertaken by US consulting firm Morning Consult. He was followed by Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador (66%), Italy’s Mario Draghi (60%), and Japan’s Fumio Kishida (48% ), according to global consulting firm Morning Consult. Modi had the lowest disapproval ratings among all the leaders tracked at 21%.
Modi wave shows no signs of waning after two consecutive Lok Sabha and assembly election victories. He is expected to surpass Indira Gandhi as a mass leader and in national appeal, and could eventually rise beyond the international stature of Jawaharlal Nehru.