The minister was speaking at the 5th Meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Finance here.
Jaitley said the government and the Reserve Bank of India have taken various steps to bring down the cost of digital transactions. He specifically mentioned about the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges, a charge merchant pays to a bank for using card transaction services, which have been brought down significantly in case of transactions up to Rs.2, 000 made through debit cards i.e. 0.25% in case of transactions below Rs. 1000 and 0.50% in case of transactions between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000.
He mentioned that the incentives announced by the government last week relating to discount of 0.75 percent in case of purchase of petrol and diesel through digital payment has shown a very encouraging response by the people.
Jaitley said that today 55 percent petrol pumps in the country are accepting payment in digital mode and force of circumstances and incentives is causing a movement in digital direction.
The Finance Minister said that the government is conscious of the need of the cyber security of high level to secure digital payments. He said that the Government and RBI are fully aware of cyber security challenges in the move and ensuring strong firewalls around the systems.
Keeping in mind that Indian consumer is cost conscious, the Finance Minister said that the Government is providing various incentives for digital transactions including debit card use.
With regard to the availability of Point of Sale (PoS) machines, Jaitley said that the machines are being manufactured by two companies in China and the government has waved off duties on them so that these machines become cheaper and reach the shopkeepers easily.
Earlier, a presentation was showcased detailing about various steps taken by the government so far to encourage digitization.
It talked about various challenges inherent in this move e.g. possibility of cyber crime, low digital literacy and lack of infrastructure in remote areas.
It also listed the steps taken to address these challenges e.g. promoting digital literacy at grass root level, extensive use of Business Correspondents and Gramin Dak Sevaks in rural areas both to deliver and create an awareness and sensitize people at large, and organisation of mock drills by CERT-IN, which is India’s nodal cyber security agency.
Jaitley assured the Members of the Committee about cyber security measures being taken by the banks under RBI supervision. He said that Government was trying its best to minimize common man’s pain.