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NPCI reps ‘not notified’ about hearing which asks if the NPCI should come under RTI

NPCI’s representations were conspicuous in their absence in the case hearing which will decide whether the National Payments Corporation of India should come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The hearing was conducted by the Central Information Commission (CIC) hearing yesterday.

When contacted by the CIC Office, the NPCI claimed that it had not received any notice for the hearing. However, the tweet below shows that the notice for hearing was sent to NPCI’s chief public information officer on January 23.

In November 2018, the Quint reported that the CIC began hearing a petition which claimed that the NPCI should come under RTI since it is a public authority as defined by the Right to Information Act, 2005.

  • Petitioner Neeraj Sharma challenged the nature of the organization, arguing that the government has substantial influence over the NPCI in view of how it is owned, controlled, and funded.
  • In 2016, its shareholding pattern was broadbased to include 56 banks.
  • In the case’s last hearing in November, the Quint reported that while the NPCI’s chief PIO was summoned, an officer from a different department presented himself. The hearing was then adjourned for a later date.

What is the NPCI?

The NPCI is registered as a non-profit organization whose majority members are public sector banks. Its majority shares are held by public sector banks.

  • Its payments product BHIM receives promotion and funding from the Union government. As MediaNama has reported earlier, PM Modi has asked people to download the app, and taxpayer money funded BHIM app downloads and referrals and cashbacks.
  • The NPCI had also publicly stated its budget of Rs 495 crore for BHIM for a 6-month period (between April-October 2017), being administered by the MeitY.

The NPCI was set up in 2008 as a non-profit organization under Section 25 of the Companies Act. According to its website, it was set up as “an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.” Its 10 core promoter banks are SBI, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank N. A. and HSBC, of which 6 are government-owned banks.

Over the years, NPCI has developed the UPI, Bharat Bill Payment System, RuPay, BHIM, NACH, Aadhaar-enabled Payments System, BharatQR and others.

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