Harnessing Digital Infrastructure: e-RUPI Digital Payment Solution


The Government of India has devised a strategy to leverage digital infrastructure for the efficient delivery of welfare packages. Taking inspiration from countries like the United States and Hong Kong, the government has introduced a prepaid voucher system for specified purposes. As a leader in fintech and known for its inclination towards technological solutions, India has launched a new payment system called e-RUPI, which is expected to pave the way for a digital currency.

Understanding e-RUPI

e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless electronic payment instrument delivered to beneficiaries’ mobile devices, including non-Android or iOS devices. It comes in the form of a QR code or an SMS-based e-voucher. Simply put, it functions like a coupon that allows individuals to avail specified services without the need for additional verification or documentation.

The Purpose of e-RUPI

e-RUPI provides a convenient method for beneficiaries to access government services, especially considering the large population in India that is unbanked or has limited internet access. It eliminates the need for a card, the requirement to download a digital payment app, or even having a bank account. The QR codes or SMS vouchers are linked to a pre-allotted sum and can only be used once by the individual to whom it was issued. Importantly, the payment can only be completed after the beneficiary avails the relevant service.

Differentiating e-RUPI from UPI

While UPI programs such as PhonePe, Google Pay, NEFT, and IMPS facilitate cash transfers, e-RUPI is a form of sovereign digital currency. UPI transactions rely on actual currency and involve bank intermediation, debiting the sender’s account and transferring funds to the recipient’s bank. In contrast, e-RUPI involves the transfer of digital currency from one mobile wallet to another without bank routing or intermediation.

Services Covered by e-RUPI

e-RUPI covers various government schemes, including fertilizer subsidies, child and maternal welfare programs, tuberculosis eradication initiatives, and Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana schemes for diagnostics and drugs. These are just a few examples, and it is expected that more schemes will be included under the e-RUPI digital payment solution in the future. Additionally, the private sector can also benefit from e-RUPI, with employers using vouchers to cover expenses related to travel, dining, and healthcare.

Banks Issuing e-RUPI

For e-RUPI transactions, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has partnered with 11 banks, including Axis Bank, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, Indian Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Union Bank of India, IndusInd Bank, and State Bank of India.

Operating Process of e-RUPI

The corporate or government department (sponsor) provides necessary information to the issuer bank, including the recipient’s details, voucher amount, purpose, expiry date, and more. The issuer bank then requests the NPCI to generate an e-RUPI. Upon successful generation, the QR or SMS string is distributed to the recipient. The beneficiary contacts the merchant to redeem the e-RUPI voucher, and upon successful redemption, the merchant provides the intended service.

Benefits of e-RUPI Digital Payment Solution

  • No need for cash, credit/debit cards, internet banking, or digital payment apps.
  • Each e-RUPI transaction is specific to the person and purpose, minimizing the risk of benefits being misused.
  • It eliminates queues, intermediaries, and touts. The intended beneficiary remains in control, usually requiring an OTP for payment confirmation.
  • Enhanced security and encryption as no personal information is required from the beneficiary.
  • Enables financial transactions for individuals without a bank account, promoting financial inclusion in rural and disadvantaged areas.
  • Supports small businesses by directly benefiting them through government programs, aiding long-term economic goals and livelihoods.
  • Ensures efficient and transparent delivery of public services without leakages.
  • Simple and user-friendly, benefiting even illiterate individuals.


The e-RUPI Digital Payment Solution is a commendable initiative by the government, offering numerous advantages to beneficiaries. With a significant portion of the population lacking access to banking services, e-RUPI ensures that all individuals, regardless of their banking status, can avail themselves of government benefits in healthcare, medications, fertilizers, child welfare, and more. It represents a significant step toward financial inclusion and streamlining the delivery of welfare services in India.

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