Multinational electronic payment service provider Visa Inc. has partnered with the Andhra Pradesh government to provide digital payment services for state-owned service providers in Vizag. The project titled Vizag Digital Dhan Sankalp (VDDS) aims to transform the city of Vishakhapatnam into India’s first ‘less-cash’ city according to Andra’s minister for IT Nara Lokesh. This big push towards digitisation has already been implemented, and it is now available for about 90% of the city’s population.
Under this initiative, services of various state agencies including Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Ltd (EPDCL), etc. can now be availed through digital payment technology. Based on how these services function in the digital sphere, Andhra Pradesh government will widen the implementation of this initiative across the state.
Digitisation process is also currently underway in the city for payments made to educational institutions, small and micro merchants, and street vendors. Additionally, the government is planning to make it mandatory to accept digital payments through an amendment to the AP Shop and Establishments Act. The government believes that this transformation will benefit millions of citizens across the state and improve transparency when implemented on a full scale.
Minister Nara Lokesh said that this transformation will help bring down the costs involved in public services and improve convenience for people availing these services. He also said that the state would be working closely with citizens as well as the industry to implement this initiative on a large scale.
Digital payments technology is still in the beginning stage in India. However, this is a rapidly growing industry with many players entering it everyday. The central government is also promoting digitisation through its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and digital payments applications. Wider acceptance of digital payments will transform India into a cashless economy and improve transparency in transactions.