The Reserve Bank of India is working towards the launch of a limited pilot testing a digital rupee for specific use cases
In a Concept Note on CBDC, the RBI’s fintech department says the pilot will begin soon. Currently, the central bank prepares for a phased implementation of a digital rupee. A few pilots are scheduled before a final launch “with minimal or no disruption to the financial system”.
The bank considers both wholesale and retail CBDCs. While the former can improve settlement systems, the latter can offer direct access to safe money for payment and settlement.
Main motivations for introducing a CBDC include reducing cash management costs, boosting financial inclusion, improving efficiency, and encouraging innovation in cross-border payments.
The paper also notes the potential importance of an offline feature in a digital rupee. In particular, it can reach people in remote locations and protect against power and mobile network outages. Nevertheless, RBI stresses that CBDC will complement, rather than replace fiat money.