Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 10 said that banks need to promote only RuPay cards, adding that it is not necessary for Indian customers to be offered other cards.
There were more than 600 million RuPay cards in force as of January, of the total 872 million credit and debit cards in India in the same period.
RuPay, the Indian card payment network, is a product of National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI). Since savings accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) included the issuance of RuPay cards, the number of such cards have risen drastically.
"RuPay card will have to be the only card you promote. Whoever needs a card, RuPay will be the only card you would promote and I would not think it is necessary today in India when RuPay is becoming global, for Indians to be given any other card first than RuPay itself," FM Sitharaman said at the 73rd annual general meeting of the Indian Banks' Association (IBA).
"Make sure that the NPCI becomes a brand-India product which can be promoted elsewhere in the world," Sitharaman said.
The minister said that banks need to ensure that all accounts are mandatorily linked to Aadhaar and to PAN number latest by 31 March 2021.
"So, ideally by December, if not then by 31 March 2021, every account should be linked to Aadhaar and to PAN wherever required," she said.
"The financial inclusion story is not over and you still have inclusion to carry forward. You still have so many out there who do not have a bank account. When I say bank account, it is Aadhaar-seeded and I do not want to hear from any bank that it can do direct benefit transfer (DBT) because the government wants it to do but does not know how many accounts are not Aadhaar-seeded," the finance minister said.
She said that banks must discourage non-digital payments and promote adoption of unified payments interface (UPI)-driven payments. "UPI should be a common parlance word in all our banks," she said.
Sitharaman said India is thirsting for more large banks. "There is a lot of amalgamation happening and I can always wish to have each of the amalgamated banks to be as big as SBI. We can have eight more SBIs in this country post-amalgamation," she said, adding that banks should focus not just on size, but also on diversified activities.
"We want large banks as much as we want smaller finance companies, smaller banks, NBFCs because they can reach out. I am glad that the RBI has already worked out the co-origination rules for you all to function," she added.