New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: To further boost the digital payments across the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman on Monday announced Rs 1,500 crore-scheme to promote digital payments. She said that digital payments increased manifolds in the recent past, especially during the COVID-19 period.

''To give a further boost to digital transactions, I earmark Rs 1,500 crore for a proposed scheme that will provide financial incentive to promote a digital mode of payment," Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the Budget for 2021-22.

"We have now worked out the modalities and the NRF outlay will be Rs 50,000 crore over five years. It will ensure the overall research ecosystem in the country is strengthened with focus on identified national priority thrust areas," she added. Sitharaman, in her Budget speech of 2019, announced a National Research Foundation (NRF).

To strengthen the overall research ecosystem of the country, the Union Budget financial year 2021-22 announced a slew of new initiatives to boost innovation and R&D in the country.

While presenting the Budget in Parliament today, Sitharaman also proposed initiatives covering digital payments, space sector and deep ocean explorations. For the National Research Foundation, the Finance Minister proposed an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore, spread over five years.

"It will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with focus on identified national-priority thrust areas," she added.

The move was also praised by the experts as Payments Council of India Chairman and Infibeam Avenues Ltd Executive Director Vishwas Patel said the announcement would incentivise digital payments.

"Hopefully, it will be used to reimburse losses suffered by payment service providers for processing RuPay debit cards and UPI transactions for free in the year 2020 as well as top up the Rs 500 crore fund set up by RBI as part PIDF," he said.

Prior to the Budget presentation, the industry experts have highlighted that the stipulations made under Budget 2019 mandating zero merchant discount rates (MDR) is "adversely affecting" the financial technology (fintech) ecosystem. The year 2020 saw an 80 per cent increase in digital payments, especially from tier II and III cities,

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan