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Bengal first state to start full e-treasury, says RBI

The Times of India:  April, 2015

Kolkata: Ahead of civic polls, the West Bengal government got a pat in the back on the economic front from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The deputy governor of the apex bank, Harun R Khan, has lauded the state government for becoming the first state to integrate its treasuries with the core business solution (CBS) of RBI, called e-Kuber for making e-payments. RBI has set a deadline to integrate treasury operations of all the states by August 2015, he said.

Khan who was in Kolkata told TOI that RBI is gradually rolling out a procedure of both e-payments and e-receipts for states and the Centre. "We are the bankers of both Central and state governments. E-Kuber is like our own CBS through which we shall have a flawless and fast- integrated payment and receipt mechanism," he added.

Commenting on the achievement of Bengal, Khan added that the state has done a commendable job. "There is good coordination between RBI and the state government," he added. According to the deputy governor, as many as 83 treasuries of the state have so far been integrated to e-Kuber out of 88 treasuries. "The remaining will be integrated in next few weeks," an RBI official added.

RBI feels the state government has so far made payments worth Rs 350 crore through this system which is also the total amount of payment transactions through e-Kuber till date. "We hope that in the next few weeks the total payments of the West Bengal government worth Rs 3,000-4,000 crore will be disbursed through this. More than 7,000 digital signatures has been incorporated in the system for this," an official added. According to RBI, some states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa have started e-receipts "Now both the process will be integrated," he added.

It may be noted that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had recently dubbed it as a first in India in her facebook page. "Henceforth, all employees, pensioners, beneficiaries of government schemes, recipients of scholarships, suppliers to the government, contractors, and service providers will receive their payments directly in their bank accounts electronically from the 88 treasuries spread across the state using massive IT network.

A dedicated team of about 7,000 officers are engaged to ensure that the project runs smoothly. An SMS alert automatically goes to the recipient the moment treasury clears the bill and instructs RBI for payment," she had said. A state government official said it would not only eliminate delay associated with cheque payment but will eliminate corruption.

When contacted, state finance minister Amit Mitra said once again West Bengal has taken the number one position among states in the e-governance domain. "It has already received the highest award from the Centre on e-taxation this year. West Bengal has become the first state to take the advantage of e-Kuber," he added.