This fulfils the commitment made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhutan in 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with her Bhutanese counterpart Lyonpo Namgay Tshering on Tuesday jointly launched the BHIM Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in Bhutan.

“The services have started in Bhutan under India's neighbourhood first policy and India is proud of our achievement and feel pleasure in sharing it with our valued neighbour,” Sitharaman said while speaking on the occasion of the virtual launch.

She described BHIM UPI as one of the brightest spots and an achievement for digital transactions in India during the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

“More than 100 million UPI QRs have been created in the last 5 years and BHIM UPI in 2020-21 has processed 22 billion transactions worth Rs 41 lakh crore,” Sitharaman said.

Finance Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, thanked and appreciated the Government of India for the launch of BHIM-UPI services in Bhutan and added that the bond between the two countries has become stronger each passing day.

The launch fulfils the commitment made by the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Bhutan in 2019, a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said.

With the launch of BHIM-UPI in Bhutan, the payment infrastructures of the two countries are seamlessly connected and will benefit a large number of tourists and businessmen from India who travel to Bhutan each year, it added.

This will enhance the ease of living and ease of travelling through cashless transactions at the touch of a button, the Finance Ministry release explained.

As a part of the launch, Finance Minister Sitharaman also made a live transaction using BHIM-UPI to purchase an organic product from a Bhutanese OGOP outlet, which sells fresh farm produce made organically by local communities in Bhutan.

Bhutan is the first country to adopt UPI standards for its QR deployment, and the first country in India’s immediate neighbourhood to accept mobile based payments through the BHIM App, the release said.

India and Bhutan have already enabled inter-operability in acceptance of Rupay cards in each other’s countries in two phases – acceptance of Rupay cards issued in India at Bhutan based terminals in the first phase, and vice versa in the second phase.

The function was also attended by the Minister of State (Finance) Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, the Governor of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Dasho Penjore, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Debasish Panda, Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, Ambassador of Bhutan to India, General V. Namgyel, and the MD & CEO of NPCI, Dilip Asbe.