The finance ministry in India passed a new regulation saying that companies with sales of more than ₹50 crores (about $7 million) will have to offer customers electronic payment modes like debit cards, powered by RuPay, according to a report by LiveMint.
The new regulation went into effect on Jan. 1, and penalties will start on Feb 1, to give businesses a chance to comply.
The new payment modes that have to be added are in addition to whatever payment methods a company already provides.
RuPay is a payment network offered by National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI), Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Unified Payments Interface Quick Response Code (UPIQRC).
The fine for non-compliance is going to be ₹5,000 a day, and the new rule was brought forward through the Income Tax Rules of 2019, with the idea of boosting more digital transactions as well as supporting NPCI, which is a not for profit organization.
The finance ministry said that both payment systems and banks that offer payment modes through this section of the regulation could not charge a fee for the person making the payments or the recipient.
Digital transactions continue to be popular in the country, and in October, payments system UPI saw a new high of 1 billion transactions. The movement is being spurred on by the country’s young people, who have inexpensive smartphones and discretionary income with better data connectivity.
“Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has identified Blockchain Technology as one of the important research areas having application potential in different domains such as Governance, Banking & Finance, Cyber Security and so on,” wrote Sanjay Dhotre.
He went on to explain the focus of the initiative include evolving an ecosystem around research and development (R&D) organizations, government departments and academia to foster blockchain technology; the design, development and pilot deployment of blockchain-based applications in governance, banking & finance and cybersecurity; to conduct research to address the issues and challenges related to blockchain; evolving blockchain framework using open-source implementations; and to build the capacity in blockchain technology.