More than 37,000 users have joined the digital payment service meant for feature phones while 21,833 successful transactions have taken place since its launch on March 8, 2022, Parliament was informed on Monday. The UPI123Pay service is available for feature phones without internet. Prior to the launch of this service, the Unified payments interface (UPI) was limited to smartphone users.
Various steps have been taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to expand the reach of UPI outside India, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat K Karad said in a written reply to Lok Sabha. NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is committed to promote the UPI service outside the country, he said.
"NIPL has undertaken various initiatives across nations to enable cross-border acceptance of BHIM UPI QR at merchant establishments. These partnerships will facilitate Indian travellers to make payments using the BHIM UPI QR for all their retail purchases at international merchant establishments," he said. Currently, BHIM UPI QR has gained acceptance in Singapore (March 2020), Bhutan (July 2021), and recently with partners in UAE and Nepal (February 2022).
However, travel restrictions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years have impacted overseas use of this facility, he said. Replying to another question, Karad said that despite the widespread impact of the pandemic on the economy and its cascading effect on the actions in respect of recovery measures, the debt recovery during the financial year as a percentage of gross NPA in the beginning of the fiscal was still at 12.28 percent.
On the steps taken by the government for loan recovery from wilful defaulters, he said that as per the inputs received from the Enforcement Directorate, it has attached assets worth Rs 19,111 crore as on March 23, 2022, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in certain cases related to fugitives, which is 84.61 percent of the defrauded amount of Rs 22,586 crore in these cases. Out of these, assets worth Rs 15,113 crore, which is 66.91 percent of the defrauded amount, has been restituted to public sector banks.
To deter wilful defaulters, as per RBI's instructions, he said, wilful defaulters have not been sanctioned any additional loans by banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) or financial institutions, and their enterprises have been debarred from floating new ventures for five years. Also, wilful defaulters and companies with wilful defaulters as promoters/directors have been debarred from accessing capital markets to raise funds, he said.In addition, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 has debarred wilful defaulters from participating in the insolvency resolution process, he added.