With an eye on cashless economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday unveiled two schemes - Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana - for customers and traders alike to promote mobile banking and e-payments.
Making his last monthly address this year in his Mann ki Baat programme, PM Modi said there is "an atmosphere of curiosity" in the country as to what is cashless, how cashless business can take place and how one can make purchases without using cash.
"To encourage this trend, strengthen mobile banking and inculcate the habit of making e-payments, the government is launching from today encouragement schemes for consumers as well as traders. To encourage customers, the scheme is Lucky Grahak Yojana and to encourage traders, the scheme is Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana," PM Modi said.
PM Modi said that on Sunday as a Christmas gift, 15,000 people will get rewards through a draw system, whereby each of the 15,000 winners will have Rs. 1,000 in their accounts.
"Starting today, this scheme will continue for the next 100 days. Everyday 15,000 people are going to receive rewards of Rs. 1,000 each. In the next 100 days, lakhs of families are going to receive crores of rupees as gift, but you will be entitled to this gift only if you make use of mobile banking, e-banking, RuPay card, UPI, USSD - such means and methods of digital payment," he said.
The draw for rewards will be done based on use of such digital payment methods.
In addition, PM Modi said, there will be a grand draw once every week for such customers in which the prize money will be in lakhs of rupees.
On April 14, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, there will be a mega bumper draw where rewards will be in crores of rupees.
Talking about the Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana, which is mainly for traders and businessmen, PM Modi said traders should adopt this scheme themselves and encourage their customers too in order to make their business cashless.
"Such traders will also be rewarded separately and there would be thousands of these rewards. The traders will run their business activities smoothly and will also have an opportunity to win rewards," the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi said this scheme has been designed keeping all sections of society in mind, with a special focus on the poor and the lower middle-class segments.
"Therefore, only those will get its benefits who make a purchase worth more than Rs 50 but less than Rs. 3,000. Those who make purchases of more than Rs. 3,000 will not be entitled to rewards under this scheme," PM Modi added.
Prime Minister Modi said that even the poor can use USSD on simple feature or ordinary mobile phones to buy and sell goods as well as make payments, and all of them can also become prospective beneficiaries of this reward scheme.
"In rural areas too, people can buy or sell through AEPS and they can win rewards. Many will be surprised to know that now there are about 30 crore, i.e. 300 million RuPay cards in India, of which 200 million belong to poor families which have Jan Dhan accounts," the Prime Minister said.
(Also see: Cashback, Awards of Rs. 340 Crores by Government on Digital Payments)
These 300 million people can immediately become part of this rewards scheme, PM Modi added.
"I have confidence that the countrymen will evince interest in this system and if you enquire from the young people around you, they would surely be aware of these things and on your asking will tell you about these," the Prime Minister explained.
PM Modi termed digital movement as a golden opportunity for the youth who should impart as much strength as they can to this with their new ideas, technology and processes.
"But we must also connect with the drive to rid the country of black money and corruption with all our might," PM Modi asserted, adding that the awareness about how to use technology and make electronic and online payments is spreading very fast.
"During the past few days, the cashless transactions, or cashless trading has increased by 200 to 300 percent," PM Modi said, adding that "those businessmen who adopt digital transactions and develop online payment process instead of cash transactions in their trade activities will get income tax rebate".
The Prime Minister also congratulated all the states, including Assam, and other Union Territories that have promoted this campaign in their own ways.
A number of organisations have also successfully carried out many experiments to promote digital transactions among the rural folk and poor farmers, the Prime Minister said.
"I have been told that Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals (GNFC) Ltd has installed a thousand PoS machines for sale ... and in just a few days, 35,000 farmers were sold 5 lakh sacs of fertilisers on digital payment and this was accomplished in only two weeks," he said.
Compared to the last year, the fertiliser sales of GNFC have gone up by 27 percent.
Explaining the urgency, Prime Minister Modi made the point that the informal sector occupies a major segment in the economy where most people are paid wages in cash for their labour and hard work.
"They are paid their salaries in cash and we know that due to this, they are exploited also. If they are to receive Rs. 100, they get only Rs. 80, if they are to be paid Rs. 80, they are given only Rs. 50," PM Modi said.
PM Modi said they are deprived of facilities like insurance and those associated with the health sector.
"But now the practice of cashless payment is being adopted; the money is being directly deposited in banks. In a way, the informal sector is getting converted into the formal sector, exploitation is coming to an end. The cut which had to be paid earlier has stopped now and it has become possible for the worker, the artisan and such poor persons to get their full amount of money," the Prime Minister stressed.