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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 8 (ANI): Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor T Sankar Rabi on Wednesday said eight banks have participated in the central bank digital currencies project, which was launched by the central bank today.

Addressing queries of media persons after the announcement of the Monetary Policy Committee today, the deputy governor said the pilot project currently covers the five cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh.

The central bank's deputy governor said that there are currently over 50,000 retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) users in India. He said that the RBI is taking it slow when it comes to deploying digital rupee for retail within the country, to fully understand the various aspects of the overall process before taking decisions.

The RBI launched the first pilot of digital rupee on December 1, 2022.

According to an RBI statement, the digital rupee is being distributed through banks. These eight banks include the State Bank of India, the ICICI Bank, the Yes Bank and the IDFC First Bank, the Bank of Baroda, the Union Bank of India, the HDFC Bank and the Kotak Mahindra Bank. The participating banks have selected individuals or account holders for the trials.

The RBI Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Shaktikanta Das, hiked the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5 per cent on Wednesday. The press conference of the mediapersons happened after the announcement of the outcome of the MPC meet.

According to the governor, a rate hike of 25 basis points is considered as appropriate at the current juncture. "The reduction in the size of the rate hike provides the opportunity to evaluate the effects of the actions taken so far on the inflation outlook and on the economy at large," he added.

Das-headed Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) started its three-day meeting on February 6 amid the rate hiking spree that started in May last year to check inflation.

The Monetary Policy Committee consists of three RBI officials and three external members who are appointed by the central government. This week's monetary policy is seen as crucial as it will be the RBI's first policy stance for the calendar year 2023 and comes exactly one week after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on February 1.

The RBI members include Governor Das, Executive Director Rajiv Ranjan and Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra.

The external members are National Council of Applied Economic Research Senior Advisor Shashanka Bhide; Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research Emeritus Professor Ashima Goyal; and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad Professor Jayanth R Varma. (ANI)

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