NEW DELHI: Taking a major step towards bolstering the Government’s plans to turn India towards a digital economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched a digital payment application based on the United Payments Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar that will enable people to make digital transactions easier.
The system will also allow users to transact through the use of biometrics within two weeks, he added. Called BHIM (Bharat Interfact for Money) and named after B R Ambedkar, the new application has already been made available for smartphones running on Android systems and an app for iPhone users is set to follow soon.
“In two weeks, payment through use of biometric fingerprint will begin in India.
With the BHIM app, you’ll only require your thumb to pay. In the past, illiterate people were called ‘angutha-chaap’ but now your thumb is your bank,” he said, speaking at the DigiDhan Mela, an event organised to celebrate the success of digital currency push. The speed with which the biometric options in the app are enabled, however, will depend on the speed at which security features for the same are put in place. The Aadhar-linked payment system’s security systems are currently being developed by the government.
Users can register their bank account with BHIM, and set a UPI PIN for the account. The mobile number then acts as the user’s identifier, enabling transactions like sending or receiving money.
According to Modi, the Government has issued over 100 crore Aadhar numbers so far and there are more than 100 crore mobiles. Once the country goes digital, “it can create history”, he asserted.
The Prime Minister’s speech revolved around the possibilities inherent in the adoption of technology, which he said ill empower poorest of the poor, small business and the marginalised section and said that the world wondered how India, a country of illiterates, can be used EVMs in the elections.
“Some people are pessimists in their hearts and minds, They start their days with pessimism. They may live with that,” he said, adding that India is accepting the change today and in share markets, crores of people are using demand accounts.
Modi also pointed out that “the day is not far when people will get loans in five minutes”.
Modi also stressed the positive outcomes of demonetisation, pointing out that three years ago, newspapers were full of reports about how much was lost on account of scams like coal allocation and 2G but now everyone is talking about how much has been deposited in bank accounts.
Responding to a comment that demonetisation was like finding a mouse after digging a hill, he said that catching mouse is important as it eats away the wealth of poor.