The Indian government has eased norms to import Point Of Sales (POS) devices to help banks meet the target of installing one million additional POS devices by March-end in order to augment cashless digital payment ecosystem.
The country currently has about 1.5 million POS devices operated through various banks.
As per the notification issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the import of non-labelled registered POS devices would be allowed, subject to the condition that the importer would put a standard logo on each carton at the port instead of on individual POS devices.
The banks will also have to make a declaration to the customs that each device would be labelled only after clearance but before sale/distribution in the Indian market.
"Customs may release the consignments of POS devices based on the declaration along with the details of model/serial number of the POS terminal devices inside the cartons," the notification reads, media reports said.
As per the regulation of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), PoS terminal devices and sealed secondary cell/batteries containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes for use in portable applications are covered under the scope of Electronics and Information Technology Goods (requires compulsory registration) and requires a mandatory (Bureau of Indian Standards) registration.
"As part of the plan to expand the digital payments ecosystem and facilitate the move towards cashless transactions, the government has decided that an additional one million new PoS terminals should be installed by March 31," the finance ministry had said in a statement earlier.
In order to encourage the installations of more PoS terminals, the government had earlier announced a waiver of 16.5% of excise duty payable till March 31.
A research report released by State Bank of India (SBI) in December said there was a requirement of about 2 million additional PoS.
The report said in order to popularise cashless payment, the government should incentivise debit card usage at PoS machines by giving tax concessions through a separate Income Tax Act Section like 80C.
In a Reserve Bank of India report in October, debit card saw dismally low average of Rs 1,500 per month of transactions, probably pointing to a low level of adoption among the people. However, reports pointed to a surge in the number of transactions, even though the average value of transactions dropped further.
Till October, RBI said HDFC Bank had issued 8.3 million credit cards versus SBI Cards's 4.1 million credit cards. Similarly, the credit card-issuance figure for ICICI Bank and Axis Bank stood at 4.06 million and 2.89 million, respectively.