A committee on digital payments led by former finance secretary Ratan Watal has called on the Centre to enact new laws to protect consumers using cashless methods of payment, The Hindu reported on Wednesday. The panel said the new laws need to allow access to open payment systems and allow any payments regulatory board to function independently of the Reserve Bank of India.
Drawbacks in the existing Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, are restricting the reach of digital transactions and a Bill to amend the Act must be introduced in a month, the Watal panel said. The existing law does not specify the purpose for regulating payments markets and protecting consumers using digital payments. “It is absolutely necessary to develop consumer confidence on digital payments [and] essential to have legislative safeguards,” the committee said.
Noting that data protection was not covered under the current laws, the committee proposed a system where consumers should not be held liable for losses because of system malfunctions or unauthorised transactions. There should also be incentives to consumers for making digital payments, including through the use of discounts and cashbacks, the committee said, according to The Indian Express.
The recommendations of the committee come even as the Narendra Modi-led Centre continues to promote a cashless economy and digital payment methods following its move to demonetise most of the country’s cash. On December 21, the Electronic and Information Technology Ministry claimed that more than 70% of rural citizens had started using e-wallets. An official statement released by the government also said that 16% of the people living in rural areas have opted for the government-run Unified Payments Interface payment option.