Keeping much in tandem with the government’s penchant for launching big bang schemes on April 14, four schemes are expected to be introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Stadium. The day will mark the birth anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the Father of the Constitution.
All meant to drastically boost the government’s effort for financial inclusion, move towards digitalisation and a cashless economy — which in turn will aid the fight against black money — the schemes to be launched are the BHIM-Aadhaar Pay scheme, National Common Mobility Card and Cash-Back and Referral schemes, two top government sources told this newspaper on condition of not being named.
The grand launches will be beamed live on national television and telecast simultaneously in all the 707 district headquarters of the country where functions are being organised.
“Letters have already been sent to the chief secretaries of all the states,” one source said.
The mega launch of the National Common Mobility Card will create seamless mobility for all modes of transport line buses, metros, and trains across the country by means of a single smart card. “By making a single payment, a commuter will also be able to travel in all the required modes to reach the destination,” the source said.
The plan is a part of the interoperable automatic fare collection system for public transport as laid out in the National Urban Transport Policy in 2006. The National Payments Corporation of India has prepared the standards and specifications for the smart card.
Primarily geared to benefit rural India, Aadhaar Pay will substantially benefit huge numbers of the villagers where people do not have smart phones. Merchants will receive digital payments from customers over the counter for transactions through the Aadhaar card biometrics. All one has to furnish is the Aadhaar card number, which is seeded with the bank account number and will be validated by a fingerprint on the merchant’s machine.
This is in keeping with finance minister Arun Jaitley’s promise in his Budget speech this year, when he said the BHIM app would “unleash the power of mobile phones for digital payments and financial inclusion”.
Launched on December 30, BHIM is a payment app available on mobile smart phones that aggregates the Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based services offered by all banks. With the BHIM mobile app, one can send and receive money, settle bills and also check bank account balances.
Aimed at promoting usage of BHIM, while the Referral Bonus Scheme is meant for individuals, the Cash-Back Scheme is for merchants. All BHIM users will be given a bonus as an incentive if friends, relatives or anyone downloads the BHIM app based on the referral. Under the BHIM Cash-Back scheme, any digital transaction made with the BHIM app will earn cashbacks for the merchant. The government will also announce the winners of the bumper draw for the “Lucky Grahak Yojana” and “Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana” that were announced on December 15, 2016.