Banking Article, Banking Finance 2022, Banking Finance July 2022

e-Rupi (A Prepaid Electronic Gift Voucher for specific purpose )

India’s most pride digital initiative e-RUPI, a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment solution developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), Health Ministry, National Health Authority and Department of Financial Services and it was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in August, 2021.

BackGround:

Government of India has taken many initiatives to eradicate corruption and improve the transparency in the Governance.  In line with this aim,  Government has chosen the way of Digitisation to achieve this without much pain and struggle to anybody.  Using financial technologies  with less time to revolutionise the life of the every citizen of India.

Government Digitisation Initiatives :

In this digitisation Journey, Government has launched many products/schemes in recent years like Direct Benefit Transfer using the JAM trid of  Jandhan Accounts and linking with Aadahar and mobile numbers,   Rupay card(Indigenous Card of India), BHIM, AEPS, ABPS, Fast Tag, GeM, India Stack, e-mandis, PSB loans in 59 minuters, Digital Locker, Digital Document Execution etc., and recently  e-RUPI.

Platform Used:

It uses a digital direct benefit transfer (DBT) platform, which aims at making sure that the money transferred by the user, in this case, the government, is used exactly for the same purpose as it is intended to be.

e-RUPI

The Prime Minister termed the e-RUPI as a “big reform”, in line with the launch of BHIM-UPI payment system in December 2016. The UPI system has indeed changed the payment landscape in India and has become the preferred mode of payment in many cases.

This Electronic Gift Voucher(e-Rupi) is a one-time payment mechanism allows users to redeem the voucher without a card or any digital payment app or internet banking. Based on the Unified Payment System, the Reserve Bank of India-approved e-RUPI is an e-voucher issued to the beneficiary through SMS or QR code on his or her mobile number. With the help of this, the service provider gets the payment directly into his account. Any government agency or corporate can generate e-RUPI through their partner banks.

Instead of crediting the DBT amount directly to the beneficiary bank account, through the e-RUPI, an equivalent amount voucher will be sent directly to the beneficiary’s mobile phone in the form of an SMS string, or a QR code and can see for utilisation for the same purpose it is intended.

The beneficiary will have to show the SMS or QR code to specific centres where it can be redeemed with a code delivered to the mobile number and towards safeguard the interest of beneficiary from misutilisation of this SMS/QR code,  while making payment to service provider OTP will be sent to registered mobile of beneficiary where the SMS or QR code had come.   It also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed.

Target of e-RUPI :

It will be targeted for a specific purpose and cannot be used for any other thing. For example, if the e-RUPI has been sent to the beneficiary to avail vaccination, it can be used at the vaccination centre only to get the vaccine.  This would ensure that the ‘money is utilised for the same purpose it is given for’. Earlier, as the benefit amount used to get directly credited to the account of the beneficiary, it was possible to withdraw and use it for, say, consumption purposes. With the new electronic voucher scheme, that can be plugged.

e-RUPI Assurance :

Being pre-paid in nature, it assures timely payment to the service provider without involvement of any intermediary. It is expected to be a revolutionary initiative in the direction of ensuring a leak-proof delivery of welfare services.

Benefits :

It can also be used for delivering services under schemes meant for providing drugs and nutritional support under Mother and Child welfare schemes, TB eradication programmes, drugs & diagnostics under schemes like Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, fertiliser subsidies, etc. Even the private sector can leverage these digital vouchers as part of their employee welfare and corporate social responsibility programmes.

The voucher system will enable all beneficiaries, including feature phone-users, to benefit through this mechanism.

The e-RUPI system will not only ensure that there are no leakages in the delivery of government services but also offer a much-needed ease and convenience to the people who are the recipient of such services. This can be a revolutionary concept and alter the paradigm of governance.

e-RUPI, is slated to make welfare payments easier and more efficient, and to an extent looks like the precursor of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).  e-RUPI is not a cryptocurrency. However, e-RUPI can be a step towards a CBDC.

Users of e-RUPI :

e-RUPI not only useful for implementing the Government Social Welfare schemes in transparency manner but also used by Corporates for Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) activities, any individuals for donation or helping others.   An example of a corporate sponsoring vaccination of 100 people in a private hospital. In that case, the beneficiary will get the vaccine free from the hospital, but only after showing the e-RUPI SMS or QR code.

India has shown the world that in adopting technology and leverage it for connecting lives, the country is not behind anyone. In digital innovation, service delivery using technology, India is providing global leadership.

Nevertheless to say e-RUPI voucher is an innovative instrument to transform the life of the common man.

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