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Is PM Modi’s push for cashless India losing steam?
rbi, reserve bank of india by shah junaid | Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

The government’s push to make Indians transact digitally appears to be losing steam. At least that’s what the latest monthly data on electronic transactions released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seem to suggest.

The total number of electronic transactions in February fell 18.6% to 684.7 million from January’s 840.7 million, show RBI data released on Wednesday. The total value of the transactions dropped 16.7%.

These transactions were conducted across various platforms including real time gross settlement, national electronics fund transfer, immediate payment service, mobile wallets and unified payments interface.

To be sure, the data is provisional, and only for 26 days in the month, as against 31 days in January, so the final figures could well be slightly higher. Still, even in the best-case scenario, the final numbers are likely to be flat at best.

In fact, electronic transactions have been on a declining trend since December, when there was a 42% spike in the immediate wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to ban high-value notes on 8 November.

The RBI data show also that mobile wallet transactions fell 17% in February. Debit and credit card transactions at merchant outlets slumped 28%.

The number of transactions on the UPI platform fell by about a tenth. But the total value rose a tad, indicating that the average transaction value increased.

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