Paper Title
Digital Payments for Rural India - Challenges and Opportunities

Rural India has significant impact on the economic progress of the country, and with the emerging changes of ICT penetration, and the impact of demonetisation, alongside the digital initiatives carried out for rural segments, the need for improving the trends of digital payments model in rural India is very important. Considering the benefits like transparency in transactions, scope for curtailing parallel economy and improving the ease of business, it is very essential that the transformation towards digital payments, even in the rural economy is empowered. Some of the revolutionary developments in the recent past like launch of many digital wallets like Paytm, Mobiwik, Free Charge etc. and government launching many UPI (united payment interface) solutions and BHIM app for smooth transition to digital payments, there are significant developments taking place. Stats from the market research also depict considerable rise in digital transactions post de-monetisation period. In terms of challenges, certain key factors like limited options for digital transactions based on feature phones, issues of awareness towards digital transactions, constraints of PoS transactions etc are some of the intrinsic issues that impact the digital transactions. Despite the fact that the social trends are being very positive in rural segments for embracing the digital payments, still there are considerable challenges too in succeeding the paradigm shift. The futuristic steps like enabling digital payment transactions based on Aadhar numbers could be a game changers if handled effectively. In this manuscript, the factors that impact and support towards digital transactions in rural economy is reviewed taking stock of current trends, market analysis, readiness of the infrastructure and the stakeholder accountabilities, to gain insights to the critical success factors to be addressed. It is imperative from the review of research reports, statistics over the digital payment trends, that if some of the key macro challenges, business limitations and consumer related issues are addressed, there could be potential developments envisaged in the process. Keywords - digital payment, rural ecommerce, UPI, BHIM, M- Wallet, Digital Divide, Rural and Urban India, Government, PoS, digital transactions, demonetization, Opportunities for Digital Payments