NCMC : Uniting India’s Public Transport System

The NCMC card is available as a prepaid, debit, or credit RuPay card through partnering institutions such as the State Bank of India, Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and others.

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National Common Mobility Card
National Common Mobility Card
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NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): The National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is an interoperable transportation card developed by the Government of India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It was unveiled on March 4, 2019. The transport card allows the user to pay for transit, tolls (toll tax), retail purchasing, and cash withdrawals. It is made possible by the RuPay card mechanism. The NCMC card is available as a prepaid, debit, or credit RuPay card through partnering institutions such as the State Bank of India, Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and others.

In late 2010, the Government of India envisioned a programme that would provide seamless access to public transportation networks. The system, later known as the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), aimed to allow customers to pay across several public transportation platforms using a single system. This was formed in an effort to unite the country’s public transportation system under one cover. The government wanted to improve public transportation accessibility by making it available to everyone in every city. The project is also designed to involve customers from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. An additional emphasis was made on reducing transaction time in order to make the payment experience as smooth as possible. It is also arranged in such a way that the financial risk to the parties involved in the project is minimised. It is a mechanism for EMV-based Open Loop Payments.

The NCMC is an Indian-made product that is part of the Make In India initiative. It was first proposed as part of the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) in 2006. An earlier attempt to develop a similar national mobility card resulted in the introduction of the More Card. Due to the card’s lack of interoperability across the country, Venkaiah Naidu, the then-Minister of Urban Development, formed a committee to develop a card that is interoperable across the country’s various transportation networks.

The urban development ministry tasked the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with payment management, clearing and settlement, card and terminal simulation, and network maintenance. The reader prototype was developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

A leading Indian Daily on April 8, 2019 stated, that Visa was looking to offer National Common Mobility Cards. On May 13, 2019, Visa announced the release of specs to support the NCMC. Visa has completed the specifications for issuing cards on the NCMC network and has begun conversations with banks to issue their cards on the NCMC network as well, but it will take some time for the cards to be pushed out in the market. On May 22, 2019, Mastercard announced that 15 Indian banks were in ‘Different stages of signing up’ for the NCMC.

Acceptance of NCMC by different transport Systems

The following public transportation systems in the country presently accept fare payments using the National Common Mobility Card, with many more public transportation operators around the country in various stages of planning/implementation to accept NCMC as a means of payment over the next few years.

 

State Locale Operator Transport system Acceptance Commissioned Comments
Delhi National Capital Region DMRC Delhi Metro Partial – Airport Line Only 28 December 2020 To be expanded to all Delhi Metro lines by June 2023.
Goa Statewide KTC Intercity bus Complete 21 December 2021
Gujarat Ahmedabad GMRC Ahmedabad Metro Complete – All Lines 4 March 2019
Karnataka Bengaluru BMRCL Namma Metro Complete – All Lines 21 October 2021 All Phase 1 stations have been retrofitted with NCMC readers. All Phase 2 stations have NCMC compliant readers.
Maharashtra Mumbai Metropolitan Region BEST Transit and intercity bus Complete 25 April 2022
NMMT Transit and intercity bus Partial – 25% of routes March 2019 NMMT began rolling out NCMC across all routes in August 2022.
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal MPMRCL Bhopal Metro Under construction 2023 NCMC will be accepted after the system opens.
Indore Indore Metro Under construction 2023 NCMC will be accepted after the system opens.
Tamil Nadu Chennai CMRL Chennai Metro Complete – All Lines February 2022
Telangana Hyderabad HMRL Hyderabad Metro Complete – All Lines 29 November 2021

 

In March 2019, the Chief Secretary of the Government of Telangana asked state officials to investigate the feasibility of implementing a National Common Mobility Card for usage on all public transportation in Hyderabad, as well as autos, taxis, and ride-sharing services. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited announced in April 2019 that the National Common Mobility Card would be implemented on Phase 2 of the Namma Metro. The agency would invest Rs. 148 crore in installing the required technology. The system’s current contactless smart cards will be phased out over time. In October 2021, Delhi Metro began systematically converting all of the fare gates to accept NCMC cards.

National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) strengthening the NCMC

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India. It is a joint initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) established under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act of 2007, with the goal of developing a strong payment and settlement infrastructure in India. NPCI has been developed by RBI to operate retail payment and settlement systems in India. The National Payment Corporation is working towards strengthening the National Common Mobility card. Few recent developments are as under:

 

  • NPCI enhanced Indians’ mobility through ‘One Nation. One Card’ – Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi launched ‘One Nation. One Card,’ which gave wings to the National Common Mobility Card Ecosystem at NCPI. The National Common Mobility Card, which is enabled by the RuPay platform, enables offline payment for multi-modal transit. Customers can utilise their existing Debit/Credit card for payments across all segments, including metro, bus, suburban railroads, toll, parking, smart city, and retail, with the National Common Mobility Card. The card’s stored value enables offline transactions for all travel needs with low financial risk for stakeholders. The service area feature of this card facilitates operator-specific applications such as monthly passes, season tickets, and so on.

 

  • RuPay contactless cards – Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) and HDFC Bank have collaborated to launch Navi Cards. The card will allow Navi Mumbai residents and visitors to use the prepaid card to pay NMMT bus fares. Acceptance will currently be enabled only on certain routes. HDFC Bank is the first bank to offer cards to NMMT commuters. Customers can obtain these contactless cards at the NMMT bus depot’s counters. Navi cards can be used at POS terminals, E-commerce sites, and ATMs with ease. Navi Cards are created in accordance with the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) principles to provide a secure, user-friendly, and cost-effective solution for low-value payments and the development of a cashless transaction environment.

After ‘one country one tax’ Government of India launched ‘one nation one card’. On March 4, 2019, Prime Minister Modi unveiled the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), called it ‘One Nation One Card’. It was launched in the Delhi Metro on December 29, 2020. The primary goal of this card is to simplify payment for all kinds of public transportation. The card is introduced with an objective to eliminate various concerns while travelling such as need to stand in ticket windows for buses, trains, and other modes of travel.

Similar to the GST, where with implementation of a single tax the need for citizens to pay several taxes at various platforms and levels has been eliminated, with the use of  this card, customers can pay for travel fares and other utilities in any mode of transportation. It in simple terms means that citizens can use this interoperable transit card to pay bus prices, metro fares, parking fees, toll taxes, retail buying, and even withdraw money. The initiative by the Indian government is based on the concept of one card usability in all payment systems.

The National Common Mobility Card is part of the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign/project. Till  now, India had to rely on a foreign country for such technology. But, the introduction of the card has eliminated the need of dependence on any foreign country for availability of technology any such.

Conclusion

The One Nation, One Card policy basically means using a single card for all transactions. Users can use this card to make payments in a variety of segments, including transportation (e.g., bus, metro), para-transit (parking, tolls), smart cities, retail buying, and so on. This format is already in use in many industrialised countries throughout the world, and it will soon be adopted in India as well. One nation, one card is an open loop EMV-based payment card designed to provide users with a hassle-free experience across the country’s transportation modes and payment systems.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, initially conceptualized this initiative. The Reader prototype of this card was developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). With the introduction of a single card, users gain access to a wide range of benefits ranging from travel by various modes to purchasing at retail outlets and withdrawing money from ATMs. Users need not struggle for change at the ticket desks. The card is designed to provide the customers enhanced mobility options and seamless travel experience.

PM while unveiling the one nation one card stated that it is somewhat a combination of a mobility card and a RuPay card. The card has been developed with the objective of convenience of the consumers. Consumers now, need to carry multiple cards for varied transit and day-to-day banking needs. Consumers in an open loop smart card ecosystem, get multiple benefits from partner banks such as reward/loyalty points, cash back, and others which they avail from Debit and Credit Cards.

This technology previously was available only in few developed nations, but, today India has also joined the club of nations who have this interoperable, scalable, dual interface, open loop payment card for the payment system. This card is an enhanced version of the metro smart card that users use to travel via the subway. Nonetheless, people can travel through various modes of transportation and use this National Common Mobility Card at multiple payment terminals.

The card is protected by EMV technology for transactions made by this card,. EMV is a worldwide available and widely used technology for protecting transactions from fraud. EMV is an abbreviation for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. It is essentially a global standard for debit and credit cards (chip-based cards) that guarantees payment security at multiple POS terminals.

Major Benefits

Those who have a RuPay Debit card issued within the last 18 months by their respective bank can use it for metro travel under this system. This service is now only accessible on the Delhi Metro Airport Express line, but it will be available across the full DMRC network by the end of 2022. This will function as an autonomous fare collecting system, and it can transform our smartphone into an interoperable transport card that customers can use to pay their metro, bus, and other service fares covered by the plan. The main advantages are as follows:

 

  • Efficiency:Daily operations at transportation locations become easier and faster with this card, thereby improving operational efficiency. Passengers or users do not have to wait in long lines to get their work done; with this card, they may pay promptly and without any hassle. This saves time and effort for both consumers and operators.
  • Accountability:The second advantage is that the operator is more accountable to the client. The operator gains superior date insights and records of all transactions done with this card.
  • Lower cost of ticketing operation:This approach improves efficiency while lowering tickets costs. It also minimises the operator’s operating costs and cash handling.
  • Interoperability for passengers:It means that travellers can use this same ticket across many transit systems such as buses, trains, taxis, parking, toll plazas, and so on. The traveller is not required to carry cash or multiple cards for each transit operation.

The concept is already in use in several leading nations around the world, and is now is being introduced in the country with an indigenously built NCMC smart card.

 

  • This card is powered and enabled through the RuPay card interface and is  It supported by an indigenously developed Open Loop Automatic Fare Collection System known as ‘Sweekar’ and an Automatic Fare Collection Gate known as ‘Swagat’.
  • People can use this card to travel to Metros in any region of the country. Along with travel, it may also be used as a prepaid, credit, or debit card, with support from 25 partner institutions including as SBI, PNB, and others. It can be used on a city bus, metro, suburban railways, BRT, and other public transportation, as well as for shopping at retail stores and merchants.
  • Paytm Payment Banks, along with SBI and other banks, can issue the RuPay card. It’s a contactless card, similar to a metro smart card. It accepts transactions both offline (contactless) and online (contact & contactless). Citizens can also use the National Common Mobility Card to pay for tolls and parking.
  • Cardholders of the One Nation One card can now use it at Discover and Diners Club International businesses and ATMs. When travelling abroad, cardholders can also receive a 10% reward at merchant locations and a 5% cashback at ATMs.
  • This card’s balance can be stored for offline payments. This saved value enables offline transactions across the user’s whole travel needs. Because offline transactions are authorised for stored value (available balance), there is minimal financial risk to any of the stakeholders (i.e. bank or merchant) while also ensuring minimal transaction time.
  • Nandan Nilekani committee of Reserve Bank of India proposed the idea of development of NCMC. The committee recommended that NCMC should include two instruments: a standard debit card that may be used at ATMs and a local wallet. Banks mandated by the Department of Financial Services have been urged to make their debit cards NCMC compliant in order to ensure service availability. The committee has also proposed a slew of changes, including all government payments to citizens being made digitally, in order to minimise the country’s reliance on cash.

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