Visa, the global leader in payments technology, today announced that India ranked 28th among 73 countries in the 2018 Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR), up from 36th in 2011, reinforcing the country’s progress towards digital transformation.
Commenting on the study, TR Ramachandran, Visa’s Group Country Manager for India & South Asia said, “It is heartening to see the country’s efforts to drive digital payments bearing fruit thanks to the relentless focus on digitizing government payments for citizens and business alike. That said, India must continue to take steps that can help us emerge amongst the world’s leading cashless economies. Insights from this study will help us to continue to build infrastructure and deploy electronic payment products and services tailored to the country’s needs.”
The 2018 GEAR, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) global Index and benchmarking study commissioned by Visa, ranks governments by quantifying their e-payment capabilities based on various indicators. The EIU evaluates the extent to which major countries around the world have adopted e-payment systems, based on the digital platform and according to seven criteria — Citizen-to-Government (C2G), Government-to-Citizen (G2C), Business-to-Government (B2G), Government-to-Business (G2B) transactions, infrastructure, socio-economic and policy environments. Norway tops the GEAR list scoring 89.7 points in seven categories.
India leads the B2G category, along with other countries like Australia, Singapore and South Korea. The category evaluates the ease with which businesses can calculate and make their tax payments, register for the first time, as well as renew their registrations online and digitally calculate their pension fund contributions, thereby making those payments on a periodic basis. At the same time, by simplifying refund and loan application processes, wherein businesses can track status digitally, coupled with dedicated digital portals to submit proposals for government procurement services, India leads the G2B category as well, along with four other countries.
The C2G category evaluates the extent to which citizens can complete various transactions electronically by assessing six indicators, including online one-stop shops, income tax payments, and obtaining an ID card. India ranks third in this category, along with four other countries, while France and the U.A.E. top the list.
The G2C category captures the extent to which various government transfers like tax refunds, pension and welfare benefits and unemployment benefits can be accessed electronically. In India, while everything pertaining to tax filing and pension and welfare benefits has smoothly migrated to digital, the unemployment benefits system continues to be driven by paper processes, as a result of which the country still lags behind, in 25th place.
The infrastructure and socio-economic categories examine the supportive infrastructure for e-payments and their acceptance in society at large. With respect to infrastructure, while India has witnessed an increase in Internet penetration over recent years, substantial pockets of communities continue to lack reliable access, leaving country ranked 58th. In the socio-economic category, India is ranked 60th out of 73 countries, highlighting an urgent need to focus efforts on enhancing educational levels, as well as improving citizens’ and businesses’ engagement with Internet-enabled services.
Finally, the policy category assesses the policy environment and examines how it spurs e-payments adoption. Though India ranks at a low 40th owing to a few inhibiting policy decisions, the government’s efforts to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) with an objective to foster innovation and protect country’s traditional knowledge could motivate innovation and act as a catalyst businesses to grow. Incentives to consumers and merchants to adopt digital payments are also restricted to selected e-payment methods, potentially limiting the effectiveness of these measures.
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