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 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday proposed to introduce a framework for carrying out retail digital payments in offline mode across the country.

In common parlance this means introduction of facility where digital transactions could be carried out even in situations where the Internet connectivity is low / not available (offline mode).

In his virtual address post-MPC meeting, RBI Governor said that the pilot of this innovative technology facilitating digital payments in offline mode has been successful and the learnings indicate that there is a scope to introduce such solutions, especially in remote areas.

The RBI's Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies dated August 6, 2020 had announced a scheme to conduct pilot tests of innovative technology that enables retail digital payments even in situations where the Internet connectivity is low / not available (offline mode).

Three pilots were successfully conducted under the Scheme in different parts of the country during the period from September 2020 to June 2021 involving small-value transactions covering a volume of 2.41 lakh for value Rs 1.16 crore.

Given the experience gained from the pilots and the encouraging feedback, RBI had now proposed to introduce a framework for carrying out retail digital payments in offline mode across the country. Detailed guidelines will be issued in due course.
 

RBI proposes framework for geo-tagging of physical payment acceptance infra

The RBI has proposed a framework for geo-tagging of physical payment acceptance infrastructure of merchants for widening access to digital payments.

Geo-tagging involves capturing geographical coordinates - viz latitude and longitude of physical payment acceptance infrastructure - Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) codes, etc., used by merchants.

The tagging is expected to complement the Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) framework by better deployment of acceptance infrastructure and wider access to digital payments.

Deepening digital payments penetration across the country is a priority area for financial inclusion. The setting up of PIDF to encourage deployment of acceptance infrastructure and create additional touch points is a step in this direction.

To ensure a balanced spread of acceptance infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country, it is essential to ascertain location information of existing payment acceptance infrastructure, the RBI said in a statement.

In this regard, geo-tagging technology, by providing location information on an ongoing basis, can be useful in targeting areas with deficient infrastructure for focussed policy action, it added.

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