RBI to launch digital rupee for retail customers on Dec 1

New Delhi, Nov 29 (FN Agency) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday announced the launch of the first pilot for retail digital Rupee on December 01, 2022. The pilot would cover select locations in closed user groups (CUG) comprising participating customers and merchants and the e-R would be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender, a statement from the RBI said. The e-R would be issued in the same denominations that paper currency and coins are currently issued and would be distributed through intermediaries i.e. banks, the statement said.

‘The users will be able to transact with e-R through a digital wallet offered by the participating banks and stored on mobile phones or devices. Transactions can be both Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Merchant (P2M). Payments to merchants can be made using QR codes displayed at merchant locations. The e-R would offer features of physical cash like trust, safety and settlement finality. As in the case of cash, it will not earn any interest and can be converted to other forms of money, like deposits with banks,’ the statement said. The pilot will test the robustness of the entire process of digital rupee creation, distribution and retail usage in real time. Different features and applications of the e`-R token and architecture will be tested in future pilots, based on the learnings from this pilot, the central bank said. Eight banks have been identified for phase-wise participation in this pilot.

The first phase will begin with four banks–State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank in four cities across the country. Four more banks, namely Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank will join this pilot subsequently. The pilot would initially cover four cities namely Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar and later extend to Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla. ‘The scope of the pilot may be expanded gradually to include more banks, users and locations as needed,’ the statement added.