Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday announced the launch of ‘offline’ transactions in the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot project. This means that users of the digital rupee will be able to transact even in areas with limited internet connection. While announcing the bi-monthly monetary policy on Thursday, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said that program-based additional use will be included in it as a pilot project.
RBI had launched the retail CBDC pilot in December 2022. It had achieved the target of 10 lakh transactions in a day in December, 2023. It is noteworthy that other payment platforms, especially the hugely popular Unified Payment Interface (UPI), already have the offline facility. Das said, ‘It is proposed to introduce an offline facility in CBDC-Retail to enable transactions in areas with poor or limited internet connectivity.’
He said that for this purpose several ‘offline’ solutions will be tested in hilly areas, rural and urban locations. Das said Abhi enables person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions using digital rupee wallets provided by banks. He said that now work will be done to enable it offline on a program basis.
He said the program-based capability will enable users such as government agencies to ensure payment for defined benefits. Das said companies will also be able to incur program-based expenses like business travel for their employees. Additional features such as validity period or geographical area within which the CDBC can be used can also be ‘programmed’, he said.