Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley made a large number of announcements to push the digital economy of the country in his Budget 2017 speech.
“Digital economy helps in cleaning up the system, has transformational impact, energises private investment through low cost credit, and benefits the common man,” said Jaitley.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced “demonetisation” on November 8, the current Budget further aims to strengthen the country’s cashless economy.
Jaitley announced cash back schemes for merchants using the government-aided BHIM Aadhar-based mobile wallet. There will be special bonus schemes for the consumers using it. He said that 12.7 million BHIM apps have already been downloaded.
To make citizens internet friendly, all government receipts will be generated on the internet.
There will also be a AadharPay, which will be “useful for people who do not have debit and credit cards, and net banking facility,” Jaitley said.
The government has allocated Rs 2,500 crore benefits for UPI based payments and other digital payments.
Jaitley said that by March 2017, there will be 10 lakh point-of-sale (POS) machines in the country, and 20 lakh Aadhar-based POS.
To further bolster the cashless transactions, Jaitley said that SIDBI will refinance merchants and businesses based on transaction history. This will be focussed at rural and semi-rural India.
The government will also work with various stakeholders and the prime minister’s committee on digital payments to make new regulations. “There will be an amendment in the law, and a new payments regulatory board will be constituted, replacing the exiting one,” Jaitley said.
While presenting the Rail Budget, during his speech, Jaitely also added that “service charges have been withdrawn on reservations through IRCTC and e-tickets.” In the last one year cashless reservations have gone up from 58% to 68%.