Sarita Brara

sarita-brara

“It is may not be a big amount  but definitely useful”  says   Mukesh Kumar Verma, a teacher  of government Primary school at Gonda in UP  who received  an SMS informing him  that he had won Rs 1000 in the  Lucky Grahak Yojana. Mukesh who is all for going digital says “It is simply better than handling cash,” besides other benefits.

Another lucky draw winner ,Satish Kumar a student preparing for  tenth class board exams is optimistic that  the digital mode of payments  will ultimately  help in  ‘putting an end to  black money as the prime minister has been emphasising’. Belonging to village Sarwatkhani in Bhadohi district of Sant Ravidas Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, Satish who wants to become a doctor hailed the scheme and said that digital payment is so much easier. Son of an agriculturist Satish Kumar says, “while going to buy  seeds  and other agriculture  inputs,  carrying cash  was always fraught with risks but now with the government offering several modes of  digital payments, the fear of  being looted or robbed  is gone.”

Mukesh  and Satish Kumar are among a number of winners from rural India under the Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana awards launched on the 25th of December last year was to   encourage digital payments.

Promoting digital payment options, is an integral part of Government’s overall strategy to weed out black money and corruption from public life. And As the Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Digital India means honest governance, digital payment means an honest mode of transaction, and digital economy means a strengthened economy.”

Under the two incentive schemes all transactions by consumers and merchants starting from the 9th of November last year till April 14, this year are eligible for the cash rewards in the lucky draw.

In an effort to make digital payments and less cash society a mass movement in India, the Digi Dhan Melas are taking  place in 100 different cities across the country over 100 days.  In the  first digi dhan mela  15000 winners were selected under 4 broad categories (USSD, UPI, AEPS, RuPay) from the eight crore digital transactions that took place between 9th November to 21st December last year. 15000 people will win awards every day for 100 days and the two incentive schemes will culminate with a mega draw on 14th April this year. All such transactions irrespective of the fact whether it has won daily / weekly prize, will be eligible for Mega Draw to be conducted on April 14, 2017.These will include three Mega prizes for consumers worth Rs. 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh. For merchants too there would be three mega prizes worth Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh. . While 300 crore rupees would be spent on the prize for the two schemes Rs. 40 crore has been allocated for awareness and publicity.   In all over 18.75 lakh persons will be able to win monetary rewards under these incentive schemes.

To spread awareness and  educate consumers and merchants about the digital payment options available to them  stake holders  of the digital payment system, like banks, wallets, telecom service providers, other financial service providers, UIDAI   will also be present  at the Digidhan melas.    According to  CEO Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant  the volume of digital transactions in India went up by 300 to 350 per cent in one and half month time  since the 9th of November which  showed the enthusiasm among the  people for  digital payment options.

To push  digital payments  specially in the rural areas, the government is working on a mission  mode  to provide training   to over one crore rural citizens, through 2 lakh Common Service  centres . In fact a number of steps have been taken for cashless transactions among in like improving the supply of cards and POS machines in rural areas.

Farmers mostly buy agriculture inputs like seeds, fertilisers etc with cash or on credit because the technology has not yet fully reached rural areas. In order to enable farmers for cashless transactions NABARD has asked credit societies and cooperative banks to open saving accounts directly or under Jan Dhan. Farmers can buy seeds, fertilisers and other farming equipment through RuPAY cards. 200,000 point-of-sale (PoS) machines are planned to be deployed in 100,000 villages, for NABARD has allotted funds of Rs 120 crore. These PoS machines will be installed by commercial banks. NABARD will give Rs 6,000 per equipment incentive to the commercial banks for purchase of PoS machines.

India has huge potential to transform the economy in to a digital one and the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley is confident   that the Digital India movement will strengthen the country’s economic backbone.

Hopefully as Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Aayog has said,” it is just a matter of time before India is heralded into an era of development, that is, digital revolution.”

 *Author is a New Delhi based independent Journalist and writes regularly in Newspapers on social sector issues.

The views expressed in the article are author’s own.

Source- http://pib.nic.in

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