Smart card to enable metro travel, shopping

New Delhi, Sept 1: Urban Development Ministry has come out with a Smart National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) model to enable seamless travel by different metros and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchases.

While approving the inter-operable system for the entire country, Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu has directed the Ministry officials to ensure time-bound and coordinated progress in this regard by various agencies to ensure early introduction of smart mobility cards.

smart card

Naidu has also sought coordination with the states for this initiative so that appropriate action for integration of other systems with the new smart card can be taken, according to a senior UD Ministry official.

Following the failure of an earlier effort to come out with such an inter-operable mobility card, Naidu had set up a committee last year under the chairmanship of UD Additional Secretary to recommend a card which is inter-operable across different transport systems in the country and which can also be used as a credit/debit card.

The committee had representatives of National Informatics Centre (NIC), Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), National Payment Corporation of India (NCPI) and the Ministry of Finance.

After extensive study of various models being followed across the world, the committee has recommended the EMV Open Loop Card with stored value-based model and the same was approved by Naidu, the official said. 

The smart common mobility payment card addresses the deficiencies associated with other cards being used in other countries.

The card meets travel needs based on stored value of money and can be used for travelling by any means of transport, besides also enabling account-based retail applications.

Accordingly, this card does away with the need for carrying separate cards for banking and transit requirements. Some of the other models examined include Closed Loop Solution like the Octopus cards in Hong Kong which are limited to using for travel only.

The other model of EMV Open Loop Account-based model suffers from the limitations of not supporting weekly, monthly, student passes and not facilitating checking for ticketless travel, collection of fines, besides increased costs of robust backend systems required for operation.

Globally, there is no nationwide common card except in Singapore where in inter-operability is confined to city only. The committee, hence, recommended EMV Open Loop Card with stored value for use across the country.

The Urban Development Ministry has decided to task the National Payments Corporation of India with indigenous development and management of clearing and settlement of payments, simulating cards, terminals and network, a support base of vendors for providing certified tools, cards, terminals and other services.

The official said the move is in line with the 'Make in India' initiative. C-DAC will develop the standards and hardware for Metro gates/validators along with related ecosystems.

Funding of Rs 4.47 crore also has been approved in this regard. Certification and authentication mechanism will be developed by NPCI or any other government agency.


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