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Airports Authority of India (AAI) allows Currency Exchange Counters at its Airports across the Country

According to the AAI, the exchange counters will be on a temporary basis and slated to operate till December 31

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Indian currency notes. Pixabay

New Delhi, November 18, 2016: To facilitate air travellers, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday allowed opening of currency exchange counters by scheduled commercial banks at its airports across the country.

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According to the AAI, the exchange counters will be on a temporary basis and slated to operate till December 31.

“The decision of the government of India to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes across the nation has led to currency hardship for airport users and air travellers,” the state-owned firm said in a statement.

“Hence, extending its support to the campaign and facilitating airport users and air travelers, AAI has decided to allow any scheduled commercial bank to open and operate on temporary basis, currency exchange counter.”

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However, airports operated under joint ventures (JV) have not been included in the scheme, as sufficient bank branches and exchange counters are located there.

On Monday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation suspended vehicle parking charges at all airports till the midnight of November 21.

The central government has taken various steps like suspension of toll collection on national highways till November 18, while the Indian Railways has said that it will accept the demonetised currency notes as payment for ticketing and catering purposes till November 24.

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The central government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8. (IANS)

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Demonetisation, Aadhaar Spurred Digital Payments Growth: RBI

Pointing to a major area for improvement, the study showed that only three per cent of the population in India used the Internet to pay utility bills in 2017

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long term impact on Real Estate
Demonetisation aided with RERA and GST will put long term impact on Real Estate. Pixabay.

After the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in 2016 pushed digital payments, Aadhaar-enabled electronic know your customer (eKYC) resulted in an exponential growth of such payments in the country, according to a new report by the Reserve Bank of India.

Transactions in which both the payer and the payee use digital modes to send and receive money are referred to as digital or electronic payments.

India recorded an accelerated growth rate of over 50 per cent in the volume of retail electronic payment transactions in the last four years, said the report titled “Benchmarking India’s Payment Systems”.

The growth in 2018-19 was largely due to the steep growth in Unified Payments Interface (UPI), it added.

“In India, the smartphone revolution has seen an explosion in digital payment options, from e-Money to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to a combination of the two. After demonetisation, the use of e-Money picked up on a very large scale,” the findings showed.

The digital landscape changed with higher usage of e-Money, UPI, Aadhaar Payments Bridge System (APBS), RuPay, and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), among others.

With 3,459 million e-Money transactions, India was only behind Japan and the US (data on China not available) in 2017 with respect to volume of e-Money transactions, the report said.

The study revealed that over the years, the number of debit and credit cards also increased considerably in India.

Aadhaar Card Reader Logo. Source: Wikimedia

India had 331.60 million and 19.55 million debit and credit cards respectively at the end of 2012. The numbers grew to 861.7 million and 37.49 million respectively at the end of 2017.

By March 31, 2019, the number of debit and credit cards issued were 925 million and 47 million, respectively.

However, the study showed that the cost of digital transactions was a factor inhibiting their growth.

Merchants have to cash out or transfer to their banks accounts at a cost and at times these costs are passed on to the consumer.

“A few countries have tried to regulate costs to ensure that the charges are not usurious, but the jury is still out on whether such a regulation promotes the growth of digital payments. With banks pushing and merchants pulling, it isn’t clear if such caps will discourage the use of cash,” the report added.

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Pointing to a major area for improvement, the study showed that only three per cent of the population in India used the Internet to pay utility bills in 2017.

The report compared the payment ecosystem in India with the systems and usage trends in other major countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Britain and the US. (IANS)