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India International Science Fest (IISF) in Delhi to focus on PM Narendra Modi’s call for a “Cashless Society”

The minister informed that over 3,000 students from the villages adopted by MPs will also participate in the fest

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A museum will come up in Chanakyapuri to ceebrate Indian diaspora
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating Indian diversity via museum. VOA

New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016: Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday announced that the upcoming India International Science Fest (IISF) will focus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a “Cashless Society”.

“All transactions at the fest will be cashless,” the minister said.

The IISF will be held here December 7-11 December here. Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis will pay special visit to the fest, which will be inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on December 8.

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Harsh Vardhan added that beside a cashless economy, the theme of this year’s fest would be “science for masses”.

“Emphasis would be to take science to the rural areas,” he saide.The budget of the festival has been increased to Rs 12 crore this year compared to last year’s Rs 4 crore.

The minister informed that over 3,000 students from the villages adopted by MPs will also participate in the fest.

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The fest also sees to break its own world record of maximum number of students performing a scientific experiment. Total 2,500 children will be perform a scientific experiment to break its previous record of 2,000 students. The record was first held by Northern Ireland, with 1300 students performing a scientific experiment.

“We are a government that believes and supports scientific research, including an appropriate balance between fundamental research to support new discoveries and the commercialization of ideas, will lead to provide an ample employment opportunities for India’s sustainable economic growth,” said Harsh Vardhan. (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)