Economic Times: December, 2016
New Delhi: People in rural and semi-rural areas will have a one-stop shop for all government utility payments as the two-lakh strong Common Service Centre (CSC) network is set to launch the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) this month or early next month.
The CSCs or the ministry of IT’s digital kiosks received the license to become a BBPS operator in June and integration with the central platform is expected to add a gamut of other services to their existing portfolio, which includes digital services such as printing of Aadhaar numbers, booking rail tickets and providing assisted ecommerce services to rural India.
Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance Services India, told ET that the integration is in place and they are waiting for an audit from the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). “The CSCs are already offering several bill payment options; however, the integration will enable them to offer the entire spectrum of government utility payments and will further accelerate the cashless drive,” he said. Tyagi said SCs are conducting one crore transactions every month, worth Rs 3 crore per day.
RBI opened applications for BBPS’ earlier this year and companies ranging from banks, telecom operators and wallet firms applied. BBPS has been proposed as an integrated system that will provide ‘anytime anywhere’ payment options to customers by pulling all bills and payment options onto a single platform. The platform will be run by NPCI, which handles all retail payments in the country.
As per RBI, BBPS will initially accept utility bill payments such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and direct-to-home services, and later include other repetitive payments such as school and university fees and municipal taxes.
Other players to get in-principle approval for a BBPS licence include Oxigen Services, BillDesk, TechProcess Payment Services and Paytm. Tyagi said currently, there are around 2.25 CSCs, of which 1.5 lakh are in panchayats while the rest are in semirural or semi-urban areas.
“The idea is to increase the number to 2.5 lakh, but we are open to applications even if the number goes beyond 2.5 lakh.” With the government’s focus on cashless payments, more CSCs will be asked to come on Aadhaar-enabled payment system. Currently, around 25,000 CSCs operate as permanent enrollment centres of Aadhaar and around 17,000 work as banking correspondents.