The government has launched two schemes for consumers and merchants in order to incentivise digital payments, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said in New Delhi on Thursday, about a month after the shock culling of high-value bank bills triggered a severe cash crunch in the country.
Announcing ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and ‘Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana’, Kant said both the schemes will cover small transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 to encourage every section of the society to move to digital payments.
Terming it a ‘Christmas Gift’ to the country, he said the first draw will happen on December 25 and the mega draw on April 14, the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will announce 15,000 winners of Rs 1,000 each for next 100 days, starting December 25. There will be 7,000 weekly awards each for consumers and merchants.
Lucky Grahak Yojana: win daily and weekly prizes. pic.twitter.com/lrgLQCt4xs— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 15, 2016
“Focus of Lucky Grahak and Digi-Dhan Yojana is on poor, middle-class and small businesses so as to bring them into digital payments revolution,” said the Niti Aayog CEO.
For consumers, there will mega awards of Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh. In case of merchants, it has been fixed at Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.
All forms of transactions through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and RuPay cards will be eligible for lucky draws.
Niti Aayog also said the scheme is not applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.
As per estimates, only 5% Indians use digital payment modes. Estimated expenditure of the scheme to incentivise digital payments is Rs 340 crore, Kant said.
Giving details on digital transactions post demonetisation of old Rs 500/1000 notes, he said PoS transactions witnessed a jump of 95% since November 8 (till December 7).
RuPay Card transactions were up 316% and e-wallet 271%, while both UPI about and USSD witnessed increase of about 1,200% each.
Thursday’s announcement came less than a week after the government announced a raft of measures to promote cashless transactions as part of a campaign to encourage people to go digital.
Signalling that using cash is going to be costlier, finance minister Arun Jaitley then came up with multiple incentives -- ranging from discounts on fuel, highway toll and railway tickets to cheaper insurance cover – for those using digital payment modes.
The government has come under opposition attack for its November 8 move to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes but it has repeatedly defended itself, saying the decision was necessary to stamp out black money and counterfeit currency.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extolled the virtues of a cashless society, giving examples of beggars using ATM machines, and said any pain from a shortage of cash was temporary and that the move will benefit the country in the long run.