Non-Resident Indians will soon be able to use Bharat Bill Payment System to pay utility bills and education fees on behalf of their family members in India, the Reserve Bank said on Friday.
The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an interoperable platform for standardised bill payments. Over 20,000 billers are part of the system, and more than 8 crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis.
"This will enable Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to undertake bill payments for utility, education and other such payments on behalf of their families in India.
"This will greatly benefit the senior citizens in particular," he said while announcing the bi-monthly monetary policy.
In a statement, the RBI said the decision will also benefit payment of bills of any biller onboarded on the BBPS platform in an interoperable manner.
The central bank will be shortly issuing necessary instructions in this regard.
The Governor also announced a committee to study the possibility of an alternate benchmark to Mumbai Interbank Outright Rate (MIBOR) based overnight indexed swap (OIS) contracts, which are the most widely used interest rate derivatives (IRDs) in the onshore market.
The usage of MIBOR-based derivative contracts has increased with steps taken by the Reserve Bank to diversify the participant base and facilitate the introduction of new IRD instruments.
At the same time, the MIBOR benchmark rate, calculated based on call money deals executed on the NDS-call platform in the first hour after market opening, is based on a narrow window of transactions, the central bank said.
Internationally, there has been a shift to alternate benchmark rates with wider participant bases (beyond banks) and higher liquidity.
"Amidst these developments, it is proposed to set up a committee to undertake an in-depth examination of the issues, including the need for transition to an alternate benchmark, and suggest the most appropriate way forward," it said.
The RBI also decided that Standalone Primary Dealers (SPDs), who are also market-makers like banks, will also be permitted to undertake Foreign Currency Settled Overnight Indexed Swap (FCS-OIS) transactions directly with non-residents and other market-makers.
In February this year, banks in India were permitted to undertake transactions in the offshore FCS-OIS market with non-residents and other market-makers.
This was permitted with a view to removing the segmentation between onshore and offshore OIS markets and improving the efficiency of price discovery.