Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched an Aadhaar-based mobile payment application at Digi Dhan Mela as the 50-day window to deposit old 500 and 1000-rupee notes neared its close on December 30.
The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app -- a re-branded version of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) -- supports real time cashless transactions and only requires a thumb impression to operate, Modi said.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked Modi over the “total mismanagement and widespread corruption” behind the demonetisation move, demanding the government make public the minutes of the meeting with the Reserve Bank of India on November 8, 2016.
PM Modi’s shock announcement in November left Indians in a lurch as the scrapping of old banknotes had rendered 86% of the country’s money in circulation illegal. Modi sought 50 days to set things right, saying the short term pain would help curb black money and corruption. He also pushed for a cashless economy, and the BHIM app is another step in that direction.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who spoke at separate press conference, said things had largely been brought back to normal, while loopholes in the taxation system had been plugged. Jaitley also said that Switzerland would start giving real-time information on investments by India or Indian entities from 2019.
Live updates from the DigiDhan Mela as they happened:
5.55pm: Calling a press conference, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee says “A lottery app has been named after Ambedkar by Centre; This is crude mentality and insult to backward classes.”
5.35pm: When a journalist asked “if the government has any plan to award the honest people of the country after the demonetisation”, FM Jaitley said: “Wait and watch till tomorrow.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on December 31, a day after the great Indian demonetisation drive comes to an end.
“RBI has sufficient stock to inject cash into the system,” FM Jaitley says
5.25pm: With effect from 2019, Switzerland will start giving us real time informations on investments by India or Indian entities in Swiss banks in 2018: FM Jaitley
5.20pm: Similar to a move with Mauritius, there has been a revision in decade-old Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Singapore, Jaitley says.
According to the revision in agreement, capital gains tax will be imposed on investments from Singapore from April 2017 and all tax exemptions will be withdrawn in two years, the finance minister adds.
“I must say 2016 has been historic because three double taxation avoidance agreements which provided routes to evade taxations have been blocked,” FM Jaitley says.
“Since there have been efforts by government of India to eliminate the black money and its users in India, where it can, revisiting of this treaty was important.”
With the amendments, investors based in Singapore will no longer benefit from tax exemptions on capital gains taxes. Changes to the treaty with the Asian financial centre had been widely expected. (Reuters input)
5.15pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley speaks at a “demonetisation report-card” press conference in New Delhi
5.10pm: P Chidambaram says, “Apart from the two demands raised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi two days ago, I would like to add one more demand which the government is obliged to fulfill. We request that the government should make public:
1) The minutes of the meeting between the government and the RBI board of directors on November 08, 2016.
2) The note placed before cabinet on Nov 8, 2016.”
5.05pm: We agree that high-value transactions should be done via digital modes of payment, but to insist and force low-cost transactions digitally is an absurd assertion and invasion of privacy: P Chidambaram speaks at a press conference in New Delhi.
5.02pm: Congress press conference begins. Senior leader P Chidambaram attacks PM Modi for “total mismanagement, widespread corruption” in the name of digitalisation.
4.57pm: Pledge to make at least five transactions in the new year to enable India move towards digital economy: PM Modi urges as he ends his address
4.50pm: 86% currency was removed from system but people dealt with situation strongly. This movement of India will be etched in golden words in history: PM Modi
4.45pm: Media personnel who were till date interviewing people in queues dealing in cash, will ask you in 2017 if you’re still dealing in cash. So media also played a vital role in speeding up the process and raising awareness: PM Modi
4.43pm: Some leaders said, “Khoda pahaad, nikli chuhiya” (Dug a hill, found a rat). I want to tell them that I aimed at dragging only the rat out of the hill, that rat which burrows and makes the hill hollow. I wanted to make sure the foodgrains my farmers produce are not eaten away by such rats: PM Modi
4.35pm: Wait for that day when people would be notified about their eligibility for loan. This app BHIM is integrating banking onto one common platform: PM Modi
4.32pm: There are many countries in the world which wonder how so many people just vote at the press at a button, how results of such a big country start coming within two-three hours. A country which was considered illiterate and ignorant is now astounding the world.
There are many people who are depressed forever, they are not happy with anything. There’s no medicine for pessimists like these: PM Modi
4.28pm: There’s a lot of work going on in terms of security. Wait for a blast in the next two weeks, when your thumb will be enough. You won’t even need your phone then: PM Modi
This new app BHIM will be unique in the world; it will be an epitome of a strong economy: PM Modi
4.24pm: This new mobile payment app ‘BHIM: Bharat Interface for Money’ was named in the honour of Bhimrao Ambedkar, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar -- the man who gave us our constitution: PM Modi
That day not far when every transaction will be made digitally, and this name of Babasaheb Ambedkar will be through every segment of our economy in the future. This app can be used on any smartphone, even a Rs 1,000-1,200 feature phone, even without the internet: PM Modi
4.18pm: Hundreds of people are about to win lakhs for making digital payments, says PM Modi.
All those who are cooperating with the government, joining us in our mission to develop a cashless, digital payments, are contributing towards laying the foundation of a bright and strong India: PM Modi
4.15pm: PM Modi takes the podium to address the gathering.
4.00pm: Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses the gathering, says, “Narendra Modi is making a technologically strong India with the help of Digital India.”
Black money holders, terrorists, Maoists are all worried by the demonetisation. According to a Resurgent India report, children and women traffickers for sex work are also suffering now. There’s no news of contract killing in Mumbai since the note ban: RS Prasad
The November 8 shock announcement to scrap 500 and 1,000 rupee notes was projected as a crackdown on terror funding, corruption and black money.
3.50pm: PM Modi awards prizes to lucky businessmen, traders and consumers who made cashless transactions during the demonetisation drive. He also felicitates volunteers who created awareness of digital payments in remote corners of India.
3.45pm: PM Modi launches a digital payments app “BHIM: Bharat Interface for Money”, buys a shawl and a napkin from Khadi Gramodyog using BHIM app, which is a modified version of UPI and USSD.
3.30pm: Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant welcomes PM Narendra Modi, along with RS Prasad, VK Sinha, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya on the dais. PM Modi to take out the first draw of the Lucky Grahak DigiDhan Yojana soon, while also launching the DigiDhan Yojana.
3.15pm: PM Modi to launch DigiDhan scheme shortly, with the Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.