RBI data suggests Niti Aayog overstated rise in digital payments post demonetisation

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In March, digital transaction volume went up 1.43 times. The 23 times increase, as indicated by Niti Aayog, is applicable only for Unified Payments Interface (UPI) volume and not for all digital payments methods.

The Niti Aayog, the government’s policymaking thinktank, may have overstated the volume and value of digital transactions carried out in India in the wake of demonetisation, data from the Reserve Bank of India suggests.

In a note issued a few days ago titled ‘Digital Payment Revolution: Facts & Figures’, Niti Aayog had stated that the volume of all digital transactions “increased by about 23 times with 63,80,000 digital transactions for a value of Rs 2,425 crore in March 2017 compared to 2,80,000 digital transactions worth Rs.101 crore till November 2016.”

However, Reserve Bank of India data shows digital transactions have not even doubled in March, compared to the October data, a month before demonetisation was implemented.

In March, digital transaction volumes went up 1.43 times. The 23 times increase, as indicated by Niti Aayog, is indicative of transactions only on the government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and not for all digital payments methods.

In March, UPI witnessed 6.2 million transactions worth Rs 2,390 crore.

According to a report in the Times of India, Niti Aayog got this data from National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Niti Aayog, which claims to have checked data, believes swelled numbers could be due to some “typographical error” and will be looked into.

When contacted by the newspaper, the body, which claimed to have checked the data, said the inflated numbers could be due to some “typographical error” and will be looked into.

NPCI on its part claimed that it had shared numbers for UPI payments only, which were correct. In addition to UPI, other modes of digital transactions too witnessed a pick-up.

NPCI further qualified that its numbers do not represent all digital transactions in the economy.

RBI’s provisional data reveals 890.1 million transactions happened in March against the previous peak of 957.5 million in December.

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