Daily usage of Aadhaar-enabled payment system doubles to 11.3 million in lockdown
The average usage of Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AePS) doubled to 11.3 million per day during the lockdown period as one of the preferred banking modes for beneficiaries of direct cash transfer under the Rs 1.7 lakh crore Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
Total 430 million transactions worth Rs 16,101 crore has taken place so far since the lockdown, a finance ministry official said requesting anonymity. The government ordered a nationwide lockdown from March 25 for three weeks that was extended twice and is scheduled to end on May 17.
AePS is a payment service that uses a customer’s Aadhaar identity to access his or her bank account and perform basic banking transactions such as balance enquiry, cash deposit, cash withdrawal, Aadhaar to Aadhaar fund transfer and remittances through a business correspondent (BC) in remote areas.
The government has so far disbursed Rs 32,300 crore in bank accounts of 34 crore beneficiaries since the launch of Rs 1.7 lakh crore welfare scheme under PMGKY on March 26 by finance minister Nirmala sitharaman to protect the poor from the impact of lockdown due to Covid-19, another finance ministry official said requesting anonymity.
PMGKY scheme includes free distribution of wheat, rice and pulses, three cooking gas cylinders and cash assistance to the poor for three months starting from April. It also offers Rs 500 per month to 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders for three months so that they can run their households in the lockdown period without any disruption.
AePS is easy to use, safe and secure payment platform to avail benefits by using Aadhaar number and biometrics as it eliminates the threat of any fraud and non-genuine activity, the second official said.
The system is used to facilitate disbursements of government entitlements such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Program (MGNREGA), social security pension, and handicapped old age pension. The system enables banks to extend financial services to customers in remote locations where they do not branch networks and operate through banking correspondents.