A few days back, I was heading out to buy some vegetables. When I reached the shop, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. The shop owner unlocked his phone, and opened Google Pay to display his QR code for me to scan. And in 5 seconds, the transaction was complete.
That’s the power of UPI. It’s easy, fast, and FREE.
But nothing is really free. When you study economics and finance, you understand that there are no free lunches — only the illusion of it. It costs money to maintain the UPI payments infrastructure, such as processing transactions and recording information.
So who pays for UPI? The government, through NPCI. But who pays the government? The taxpayer, who isn’t really aware how his money is being used.
The Finance Ministry can come out and earn brownie points by saying that UPI is going to be free for everyone, but sooner or later as UPI gains even more traction the government will be faced with a simple question: Is it sustainable to keep UPI transactions free forever?
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