MP’s drastic case of online payments: Processing fee several times more than discounts given on select services in Bhopal

Bhopal: The government is trying to promote the digital payment but the extra fees and charges levied on making online payments are proving to be a deterrent for consumers in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal.

On one hand, several discounts and concessions are being provided by the government undertakings to promote digital payments, while on the other it has become uneconomical due to the additional processing charges.

The central and state government agencies are charging consumers arbitrarily in the name of processing fees or portal charges. Disillusioned consumers of domestic cooking gas, Dugdh Sangh, chartered bus service and others are returning to cash system.

Rs 5 discount, Rs 15 processing fee on gas cylinder

Indane gives Rs 5 discount on digitally paying the price of the cylinder. Immediately after booking, a link is sent via SMS and the digital payment can be made within three hours. But the payment gateway charges Rs 15 processing fee in lieu of online payment. Thus despite the discount, cylinder costs Rs 10 more if payment is made online.

Result: Even the consumers who started paying online are returning to cash payment. Agency operator Pradip Naga said hardly 5% people make online payment.

Rs 15 discount on Sanchi milk but processing fee is Rs 45

Bhopal Dugdh Sangh (Sanchi) gives discount of 50 paise per liter on making online payment. Thus a person buying one litre milk daily will get monthly discount of Rs 15. The advance booking for the Sanchi milk is done through MP Online, which charges Rs 45.50 as monthly portal fee. Thus despite Rs 15 discount, consumer ends up paying Rs 30 more.

Result: Not even 10 per cent people are making online payment for milk.

Bhopal-Indore bus fare is Rs 350, online ticket costs Rs 395

The fare of charted bus service for Bhopal to Indore is Rs 350, but when a passenger books the ticket online he is charged Rs 45 as processing fee.

Result: Chartered Bus Service director Roshan Agrawal said daily about 2000 passengers buy tickets online. Thus about Rs 90,000 are charged daily in the name of processing fee.

Bhopal lags behind in 100 days’ challenge

In digital payment, Bhopal’s position is continuously falling. Under the Smart City Project, Bhopal is currently not among the top 10 cities in 100 Days’ Challenge to promote digital payments in selected cities. The challenge was launched in July 2018 and Bhopal was ranked third in the country in September 2018.

But at the last meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) held in May 2018, it was revealed that only 35% of transactions were being made online in Bhopal. Falling rank of Bhopal means people are now less interested in making online payments. According to a spokesperson of Bhopal Smart City Company, eight types of services like Civil Aviation, Telecom, Postal Service, Banking, Railway, Municipal, Petroleum and Electricity Bill were included in 100 Days’ Challenge.

(Story by Harekrishna Dubolia)