Digital or e-rupee worth over Rs 130 crore is in circulation as of February 28, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. On November 1, 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched pilots in digital rupee in the wholesale segment (e-₹) and in the retail segment (e-₹) on December 1, 2022.
State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank, and HSBC are among the nine institutions participating in the digital rupee wholesale trial, according to Sitharaman.
“As on February 28, 2023, the total digital rupee – Retail (e-₹) and digital rupee – wholesale (e-₹) in circulation is Rs 4.14 crore and Rs 126.27 crore, respectively,” Sitharaman said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
The e-₹ is a digital token that functions as legal tender. It will be released in the same denominations as paper cash and coins are now. It is distributed via financial intermediaries, such as banks. Customers can conduct transactions with e-₹ using a digital wallet provided by participating banks and saved on mobile phones/devices.
On December 1, 2022, the e₹ retail sector pilot was launched in 5 select areas in a closed user group for making Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Merchant (P2M) transactions.
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The on-boarded merchants comprise various segments like tea vendors, fruit sellers, street side and sidewalk vendors (including migrant fruit vendors selling on the pavement opposite the RBI’s headquarters, Mumbai), small shopkeepers etc,” Sitharaman said.
“Various use cases, technological architecture and design features are being tested during the pilot… Further steps, including expansion of use case, have to be through a phased implementation strategy on the basis of feedback received during the pilots,” Sitharaman added.
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