Nepal | July 08, 2020

EDITORIAL: Digital payments

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

To prevent illicit activities, better regulation of digital payments is a must, but citizens’ privacy should be protected

Cashless society is something we keep hearing these days. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution has brought the world closer –  and hence the economies. Digital payment or digital transaction is the new revolution in the making. In today’s globalised and computerised context, Nepal cannot remain unaffected by the unprecedented developments that have been made in the ICT sector. We may be still a bit too far from creating a cashless society, but the country has made some progress when it comes to digital payment services. Digital payment is a system which effects transactions for one or multiple parties without the need for cash. Digital payments are being globally adopted now for the benefits they bring to the economies and the people. According to a World Bank report (2014), integrating digital payments into the economies of emerging and developing nations addresses crucial issues of broad economic growth and individual financial empowerment.

The government in its fiscal budget for 2018-19 has aimed to digitise government payments and revenue collection. It also aims to open bank accounts for every Nepali citizen within a year. Though it may look overambitious, the government move is praiseworthy for its openness to embrace new technology and innovations and integrate them into the economy. Digital payments can be greatly beneficial in this regard, as expanding digital payments can help ensure financial services to those adults who are excluded from the formal banking sector. It is, of course, the government which has to take the lead to drive the digital financial development ahead. Digital finance also ensures transparency in interactions, thereby reducing tax evasion and empowering government agencies to keep track of financial activities. It can also help reduce crimes in black markets. Digital payment services help reduce the cost of sending money both domestically and across borders and transfers are swift.

But with every innovation come unforeseen risks. Security is the foremost issue. System hacks and network failures cannot be ruled out. One of the major fallouts of digital payments could be the risk of frauds as well as money laundering through abuse of technology. Hence, while digital payment services should be encouraged for the broader benefits they bring, the better regulation is a must. Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada while addressing the 21st plenary meeting of Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering in the Capital on Tuesday rightly pointed the need for better regulation of digital payments and mutual assistance between all jurisdictions to control the possible illicit practices. Security and reliability of financial transactions are vital to financial stability, and for this, there certainly has to be effective mechanisms to oversee the payment systems. In Nepal, digital payment technology is still in a nascent stage. As the services expand, more risks are likely to emerge. There is a need to identify and assess associated risks. The general public needs to be informed and educated about the benefits of digital payment services and the possibility of their misuse. An effective regulatory mechanism can prevent illicit activities, but in the meantime, the government must act carefully so as not to violate privacy in the name of strong regulation.


Stop child marriage

Early marriage is still rampant in rural areas, be it in the mountains, hills or in Tarai-Madhes. Government agencies and various social organisations have been campaigning against the age-old practice of child or early marriage for so many years. But such campaigns have hardly yielded any positive impact in society. This practice is quite common in poor families of all communities. According to District Community Hospital in Lamjung, 31 per cent women receiving parturition service in the last fiscal were below 20 years of age.

It means that girls were married off at an early age and started giving the first or the second child before they reach the marriageable age of 20 years as allowed by law. The community hospital revealed a shocking fact that a 14-year-old girl had also visited for parturition service. This is a serious health issue. Early marriage can have an adverse impact on woman’s health throughout her life. A girl also will be deprived of education, skills and job opportunity forever if she is married off within the teenage. This is a serious socio-economical and cultural issue all levels of governments must work in tandem to end such practice.

 


A version of this article appears in print on July 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Transport entrepreneurs deposit vehicle keys at banks in Pokhara

POKHARA: After failing to deposit the loan installment in the wake of extended lockdown, transport entrepreneurs handed-over vehicle keys to bank officials in Pokhara, on Monday. As many as ninety entrepreneurs associated with Prithvi Highway Bus Association handed over the keys to officials Read More...

COVID-19 Highlights: 204 new cases, 688 recoveries reported Tuesday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 261,861 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 312,402 Rapid Diagn Read More...

London

Have you considered UK for future studies? You might, with the new Graduate Route provision

KATHMANDU: The United Kingdom government has announced -- a good news for international students -- that those willing to work in the UK post their graduation will be able to do so under the new graduate programme. The UK-based international students who hold a valid Tier 4 visa will be able to b Read More...

Kanye West's clothing brand Yeezy, Hollywood production companies received millions from US government loan

KATHMANDU: From billionaire rapper Kanye West to filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, ventures backed by big-name entertainers of the US have been approved for loans under Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), US government programme that is introduced to help businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic. Read More...

5 BTS members enroll for online MBA, label denies it is to delay draft

KATHMANDU: Five members of K-pop sensation BTS — RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and V — have enrolled in a MBA programme focussing on advertising media. Quoting an exclusive report by Metro Seoul, Koreaboo reports that RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and V have joined Jin as students at the Hanyang Cyber Read More...

Students march against China's interference in Nepal's affairs

Kathmandu, July 7 Students hold placards during a protest against Ambassador of China to Nepal Hou Yanqi's recent visits to senior leaders of ruling Nepal Communist Party. READ HERE:  After Madhav Nepal, Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi meets NCP’s Jhalanath Khanal on Tuesday Yanqi- Read More...

Ex-BIGBANG member Seungri to be tried for 8 offences including sex trafficking

KATHMANDU: Former BIGBANG member Seungri will be tried for eight offences, including sex trafficking. Quoting an exclusive report by News1, Allkpop reports that 30-year-old Seungri (real name Lee Seung Hyun), who was indicted on charges of arranging prostitution for investors and engaging in over Read More...

Slimmed down Sibley ready to tuck into West Indies

LONDON: A slimmed down Dom Sibley will open the batting for England in the first test against West Indies this week after admitting he needed to go on a diet during the lockdown. Sibley, nicknamed 'The Fridge' by team mates, has lost 12kg since experiencing a "wake-up call" while in Sri Lanka Read More...