The Telegraph
Friday , August 8 , 2014
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Bill payments set to get easy

Mumbai, Aug. 7: The Reserve Bank of India today announced draft guidelines for an “anytime anywhere” bill payment system to help people pay various bills through an integrated platform.

Bill payment is a major component of retail transactions; over 3,080 crore bills worth more than Rs 6,00,000 crore are generated each year in the top 20 cities in the country.

Though various forms of payments are accepted, cash and cheque continue to be predominant, particularly at the billers’ own collection points.

The existing systems do not fully address the needs of the consumers to pay a variety of bills, including utility bills, school/university fee and municipal taxes, because of lack of interoperability in the payment processes and of access to various modes of electronic payments by a vast majority, the RBI said.

The RBI has proposed a Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), offering an “interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes and providing instant confirmation of payment”.

According to the centralised infrastructure designed by the RBI, it will consist of two types of entities. The first entity will operate the BBPS and set standards; the second will be the authorised operational units, called Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs).

These bill payment operating units should be registered under the Companies Act and have a net worth of at least Rs 100 crore. Also, these entities must be incorporated in India.

The BBPS will put in place a dispute resolution mechanism to handle disputes arising between system participants.

The BBPOUs will also be responsible for handling customer grievances and disputes for billers/agents/end-customers.

The RBI had earlier set up the Giro advisory group, under IIT Bombay professor Umesh Bellur, to define a framework that would enable the creation of pan-India touch points for bill payments.

Refinancing norm rejig

The central bank has relaxed rules on refinancing of long-term project loans.

Under the revised rules, at least 25 per cent of an outstanding loan by value can be taken over by a new set of lenders against 50 per cent earlier.