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Budget 2018: Mere incentives will not do the trick, needs a clear roadmap to migrate to digital society, say Firstpost panelists

Mere incentives wouldn’t suffice to give the much needed push for digital economy in India and the Narendra Modi-government will have to prepare a solid roadmap to bring the common man closer to the cashless society, said panelists at Firstpost’s Budget and Digital India discussion held on 10 January. The panel was moderated by author and commentator, Vivek Kaul and attended by senior journalist, Madhavan Narayanan, Independent banking consultant Jayanta Sinha and Razorpay CEO Harshil Mathur.

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

Migration to a cashless economy has topped the agenda of Narendra Modi-government ever since it launched demonetisation in November, 2016. Non-cash transactions spiked when cash was withdrawn from the economy overnight but as the cash returned, growth in digital transactions returned to the pre-demonetisation levels.

According to Sinha, Union Budget 2018 needs to package incentives to promote digital transactions further—both to the customer and the merchant. At the same time, data protection laws needs to be strengthened to give confidence to the customer, he said.

Razorpay’s Mathur acknowledged that the government has already taken a few initiatives to incentivise digital transactions but despite that if cash-to-GDP ratio is rising again, government needs to take measures to avoid that, Mathur said.

According to Madhavan Narayanan, mere incentives will not be sufficient and government needs to go beyond that to make the digital revolution happen. This can be done by preparing a targeted action plan backed by a solid roadmap, Narayanan said. “Anyone who wants to make a digital payment needs to feel like a winner not loser. Like reward points in credit cards, those who migrate to digital payments needs to be rewarded,” Narayanan said.

The next part of Firstpost Budget panel discussions will be held on 17 January on Small Businesses and Budget.

For full coverage of Union Budget 2018 click here.

Updated Date: Jan 16, 2018 17:58 PM

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