Indian visitors to Eiffel Tower can now pay in rupees using UPI mobile interface

As many as 300,000 Indian tourists visit France annually

The Eiffel Tower. Getty Images
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Indian tourists to France will be able to pay for tickets to the Eiffel Tower and other attractions in rupees after Delhi and Paris agreed to use the Indian government's mobile-based payment system.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Paris, on Thursday announced France had agreed to use the Unified Payments Interface, a single-window mobile system that allows a user to transfer money between bank accounts.

“I will go after signing the agreement,” Mr Modi told the Indian diaspora. "It is your responsibility to carry it forward."

“It (UPI) will be started from the Eiffel Tower. Now Indian tourists will be able to make payments in rupees, through UPI, at the Eiffel Tower."

France and especially Paris is one of the most popular travel destinations for Indians, with as many as 300,000 visiting each year, the French Embassy in India says.

The mobile payment method will make it easier for tourists, who will no longer have to carry cash.

The UPI was launched in 2016 and since has become one of the most used payment methods in the country, particularly after the pandemic, with even hawkers and vegetable vendors accepting the payment.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Indian PM Narendra Modi

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Indian PM Narendra Modi

In May, the UPI hit a record of 9 billion transactions, said the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

The NPCI, which launched the UPI, signed an agreement with France's fast and secure online payment system called Lyra last year.

India and Singapore also signed an agreement to integrate the UPI systems of each country to enable faster remittances.

The UAE, Bhutan and Nepal have already adopted the UPI system.

Mr Modi also announced Indian students pursuing master's degrees in France would now receive a five-year, post-study work visa.

"Earlier it was decided that students studying in France will get two years of work visa but now students who pursue their master's from France will get five years of work visa post-studies," Mr Modi said.

He received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France's highest award, from President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

On Friday, he will receive another prestigious accolade as he attends the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris as the guest of honour.

Bastille Day is the French national day and is marked by a military parade, along with dance performances and other celebrations.

Mr Modi has been invited to be guest of honour at celebrations that will feature French and Indian soldiers marching down the Champs-Elysees.

A contingent of 269 members of India's armed forces and at least three Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jets that Delhi bought from France in 2015 will take part in a fly-past, alongside French warplanes.

Delhi and Paris have shared strategic ties since 1998 and have remained partners in sectors such as civil nuclear, space and maritime security.

Updated: July 14, 2023, 10:38 AM