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Laws on Digital Transaction Fee Need to be Changed: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday advocated changes in laws and regulations pertaining to online transaction fee as he found it odd that a fee was levied on digital transactions but not on cash payments.

“Suppose I withdraw cash (from ATM) and pay in cash, there is no transaction fee, but if I pay directly or by credit card, the merchant receives it from the bank, there is a transaction fee. This is a very strange… Old systems and habits die hard. They will take some time,” Parrikar said.

He added that such regulations will have to be “properly amended or changed”.

He also asserted that all online payment mechanisms are secure and that anybody can fall prey to cyber crime whether she/he uses digital methods of payments or not.

“As far as cyber crime is concerned, all these payment mechanisms are very secure… A cyber crime can happen even if you don’t pay through digital. A simple concept is if you keep your data, your bank account and code number on the computer, it can be hacked and there are number of cases where money has been transacted also,” he said.

“So, cyber crime is a different issue, not necessarily linked with data cards. If a person is not comfortable, he can always use a debit card, in a particular payment account which need not hold all his savings or all his deposits. They can be de-linked,” he said while addressing a press conference on the sidelines of ‘DigiDhan’ mela.

Setting up an ATM, he said requires a lot of investment on part of the banks, while a direct digital payment to an entity actually requires very little in terms of infrastructure costs, which is why the transaction fee on the latter was a contradiction in terms.

He also said that with the increase in digital transactions, fees usually levied on such transactions will come down with time.

“As we proceed, we will understand the difficulties. As we proceed we will realise what are the problems. Even a country like Sweden took about a decade in real sense to be cashless,” Parrikar said.