An issue of NPCI’s premium treatment to BHIM app was brought up by several leading entrepreneurs in the payments sector, including Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and PhonePe’s Sameer Nigam, at the NITI Aayog event held last week, reiterating the suggestions made by the Watal Committee.
They recommended the Prime Minister and the government to make National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) a neutral body to ensure a level playing field between banks and pvt tech companies.
The issue was NPCI’s backing of BHIM app and the government outlying nearly Rs 500 crore for cashback and bonus only for this UPI app as per the report by The Economics Times.
Around 74.7% of the shareholding of NPCI is held by 10 promoter banks. Last year, NPCI broad-based its shareholding base to 56 banks from 10 banks earlier, and the shareholding of public sector banks as a group is now 57%, while that of private sector banks is 17%.
“One of the points raised was why NPCI was offering such cashbacks only for BHIM instead of offering it to all UPI apps,” one of the members of the group that made the recommendation last week said, requesting anonymity.
The Ratan Watal committee report released last year had also recommended that NPCI move towards diffused shareholding while also stating that the ownership structure of NPCI might be conflicted with its pivotal role in the digital payments ecosystem.
“The committee feels that it might be desirable to explore ways in which the shareholding could be diffused, and ownership of NPCI be demutualised from the payment system participants. For example, at least 51% of the paid up equity share capital could be held by the public, with no person individually or through persons acting in concert should hold more than 5% of the shares of the company,” the committee said.
Some other points raised by the payments group were about the need to reduce the merchant discount rate to promote digital transactions. “The government said they will take up the points for consideration,” the person said.
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