India has added disposable cell phones to its list of legal tender, joining a list of more than 70 legal tender products that are legal tender in other countries.
The Indian government on Thursday announced that it had signed an agreement with the Union ministry of telecoms and information technology (Moit) for a prepaid cellular phone service, allowing prepaid cell phones in India to be used as a payment option.
Under the new agreement, prepaid cell phone companies will be required to maintain at least one ATM in their respective states, the announcement said.
A spokesperson for the ministry said that the government was committed to providing affordable, reliable and convenient digital access to the public and will continue to work towards that objective.
The move comes after the Narendra Modi government last month launched a digital transformation programme in the country, including the roll-out of free Wi-Fi hotspots and the rollout of more mobile phones.
India has become a leading destination for digital remittances and digital payments, according to the World Bank, which has estimated that India’s remittance market is worth more than $2 trillion annually.
As India becomes more popular as a destination for international remittence, more countries around the world are considering offering prepaid cellphones in their own currencies as well.