Catalyzing Responsible Digital Payments in the North East Region of India

Taking stock of the digital payments ecosystem with a 7-point action plan to expand the merchant acceptance network

Better Than Cash Alliance’s new research, with India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, pegs the merchant digitization opportunity in the region at $18 billion (Rs.130,000 crore), which can be tapped if the 1.5 million (15 lakh) merchants embrace digitization.

The report recommends 7 priority actions to make digital payments better than cash to improve the lives of merchants and their families. The actions focus on the inclusion of women and rural merchants in the drive to digitize.

Acting on these will contribute to India’s trillion-dollar digital economy vision and initiate a virtuous circle to keep funds digital and advance the Sustainable Development Goals in the Region.

Conceptualized just before the pandemic, the report involves intensive research and consultations with stakeholders across 25 organizations, leverages 10 datasets and 9 reports to develop a nuanced perspective of digital payments in the North East Region, and validates the findings through 12 types of merchant interviews in Assam and Mizoram.

Merchant payments digitization is a key focus and a strategy for action under India’s Digital North East 2022 vision, launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in 2018 to unlock the region’s potential. This Vision is an extension of the Digital India Mission, which, six years since its launch, lies at the core of India’s response to COVID-19.

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