Pay­ments Tech­nol­ogy Cos Barred from Road E-tolling

NPCI in­vites only banks to of­fer ser­vice; Paytm, Mo­bik­wik & Citrus Pay lose out on big op­por­tu­nity

The Economic Times - - Companies -

Saloni Shukla & Pratik Bhakta

Mum­bai: The Na­tional Pay­ments Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (NPCI) has shut its doors on pay­ment tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies in one of the most lu­cra­tive busi­ness ar­eas — toll col­lec­tion on roads — as it in­vites only banks to pro­vide the pay­ments ser­vice. Paytm, Mo­bik­wik and Citrus Pay, which have been plan­ning to tap this busi­ness, may have to find al­ter­nate routes.

“They (wal­lets) might be in­ter­ested, but NHAI has not shown in­ter­est and we have not sug­gested to NHAI to bring in non-banks,” AP Hota, MD & CEO of NPCI, told ET.

Na­tional High­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia (NHAI) has tied up with NPCI to set up an in­ter­bank clear­ing house to en­able e-tolling across all toll plazas in the coun­try. The move is ex­pected to help the coun­try save thou­sands of crores of ru­pees an­nu­ally in fuel con­sump­tion and speed up freight. The mea­sure will help re­duce con­ges­tion at toll gates and curb mal­prac­tices. To­tal au­to­ma­tion of toll col­lec­tion across the coun­try is ex­pected to re­duce av­er­age wait­ing time at toll plazas by 10 min­utes. Hota added the ball was now in NHAI’s court, as the project was the high­way au­thor­ity’s brain child. “Even af­ter bring­ing all banks un­der the fore if NHAI finds that it is not scal­ing up they might al­low non-bank play­ers to come. But as of now, there is no think­ing on al­low­ing non-banks,” said Hota. Mo­bile pay­ments and ecom­merce plat­form Paytm, which re­cently re­ceived the ISO 27001 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, has been eye­ing gov­ern­ment cont- racts, in­clud­ing e-tolling. “Hon­estly, I am not wor­ried, I am sure they will come around,” Nitin Misra, Head of prod­ucts at Paytm, said. “There are cases where the gov­ern­ment has been pro­gres­sive in the past; the RBI gave us the pay­ment bank li­cence.” While NHAI has not con­sid­ered use of dig­i­tal wal­lets for recharg­ing of ETC tags, Mum­baibased pay­ments com­pany Citrus Pay in­tends to be­come the pay­ment gate­way for the in­ter-bank clear­ing house that NPCI will set up for the e-tolling across na­tional high­ways. The firm has al­ready started ac­cept­ing toll pay­ments on­line for all the en­try points into Mum­bai. “Even if NPCI wants to have only banks on board now, I am sure it will not be very dif­fi­cult to in­flu­ence this pol­icy. Once they see that our users far out­num­ber the users of banks’ pay­ments in­stru­ments they will turn around to get us on board as well,” said Upasana Taku, co­founder of mo­bile wal­let com­pany Mo­bik­wik.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a pan-In­dia elec­tronic toll col­lec­tion sys­tem on na­tional high­ways may help save .₹ 87,000 crore, ac­cord­ing to a joint study by the Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia and the In­dian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment Cal­cutta.

The study said the length of time at toll points adds up to a cost of .₹ 27,000 crore a year.

A pan-In­dia elec­tronic toll col­lec­tion sys­tem on na­tional high­ways may help save 87k crore

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