Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das announced the regulator’s Monetary Policy statement on February 8. Among other announcements, Das said that the RBI will pilot QR code-based coin vending machines in the country. Additionally, travellers from G20 nations will now be allowed to access Unified Payments Interface (UPI) facility in select airports. Das said that QR code-based Coin Vending Machines (QRCVMs) will be set up in 12 cities, the names of which are yet to be announced. The QRCVMs will allow customers to avail coins using UPI instead of typical banknotes as is the case with regular ATMs.
“This will enhance the ease of accessibility to coins,” Das said. “Based on the learnings from the pilot, guidelines will be issued to banks to promote distribution of coins using these machines.”
Additionally, the RBI chief also announced that travellers from G20 nations arriving at select international airports will be allowed to use UPI for merchant payments (P2M) while they are in the country. This facility will be extended to all inbound travellers to India. The RBI also announced a 25 basis point (bps) hike in repo rate to 6.5 per cent. Maintaining an accommodative stance, the central bank maintained its commitment to fight inflation.
In his speech, Das said the MPC decided 4:2 vote to remain focused on the withdrawal of the accommodative policy. “The global economic outlook doesn’t look as grim now as it did a few months ago, growth prospects in major economies have improved while inflation is on a descent though inflation still remains on well-above target in major economies,” he said, while adding “Rate hike of 25 bps is considered appropriate at this juncture, monetary policy to remain agile, alert to inflation.”
He said that the RBI MPC projected India’s GDP growth at 6.4 per cent for 2023-2024. The governor said that inflation is projected at 6.5 per cent for the current financial year 2022-23. “On the assumption of a normal monsoon, CPI inflation is projected at 5.3 per cent for 2023-24,” Das said.