Digital payment solution 'e-RUPI' to launch in India today at 4.30 pm: What it means and how it works

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch e-RUPI, a person and purpose-specific digital payment solution, today (2 August) via video conferencing, his office said. Underlining that Modi has always championed digital initiatives, the Prime Minister's Office said over the years, several programs have been launched to ensure the benefits reach intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner, with limited touchpoints between government and beneficiary. The concept of electronic vouchers takes forward this vision of good governance, it said.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the digital payment solution today at 4:30 pm (IST).

What is e-RUPI? How does it work?

As per a tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment." e-RUPI is a "QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries", states the official press release.

This will act as a prepaid voucher that can be redeemed as payment to a service provider, eliminating the need for a card, digital payments app or internet banking access. It will connect "sponsors of service providers with beneficiaries and service providers" digitally. It assures "timely payments" without the involvement of any intermediary. As per the official statement, "it also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed."

The digital payment solution is developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on its UPI platform, in collaboration with the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and National Health Authority.

Users can redeem the voucher by scanning a QR Code received via SMS.

Where can one use e-RUPI?

As per the official statement, the digital payment service can be used to ensure "a leak-proof delivery of welfare services". It can also be used to deliver services under schemes meant for providing drugs and nutritional support under Mother and Child welfare schemes, TB eradication programmes, drugs & diagnostics under schemes like Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, fertiliser subsidies and so on.

As for the private sector, the government suggested the sector can leverage these digital vouchers as a part of its "employee welfare and corporate social responsibility programs".

How is e-RUPI different from other digital payment apps?

The chief difference between e-RUPI and other online payment apps is that e-RUPI is not a platform or an app. It is a voucher that can be redeemed for specific services only. Unlike other payment services, the user does not need to have a digital payment app or even a bank account to redeem this voucher.

What are the benefits of using e-RUPI?

According to the NPCI website, it is beneficial for corporates as it is an end-to-end digital transaction that doesn't require any physical issuance. Therefore, it will lead to cost reduction for the organisation. Additionally, the website reveals the issuer will be able to track voucher redemption.

e-RUPI will be beneficial for users as it is "easy and secure", as per the official statement. Since it has a pre-blocked amount, chances of a transaction being declined will be significantly lowered.  As per NPCI, it has a two-step redemption process and the user does not need to share any personal details while redeeming the voucher. Notably, consumers do not need to have a digital payment app to redeem the voucher.

Which banks are live with e-RUPI?

As per NPCI, State Bank of India, HDFC, Axis, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, IndusInd Bank and ICICI Bank are already live with the e-RUPI digital payment solution.

(With inputs from PTI)

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