NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today announced what he called a "Christmas gift to the nation," a bonanza of cash rewards to promote digital transactions as the government pitches a cashless economy after the notes ban. The schemes - called the "Lucky Grahak Yojana" for customers and the 'Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana' for merchants - begins on December 25, Christmas Day, and a total Rs 340 crore will be given in prizes for both customers and merchants selected through lucky draws.
Mr Kant said the schemes would cover small transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000. The objective is to encourage all sections of society to transition to making digital payments. It is estimated that only five per cent Indians make digital payments, the rest use cash.
"Our objective is to make digital payments a mass movement... Beginning December 25, the NPCI will announce 15,000 winners of 1000 rupees for the next 100 days... It will be a Christmas gift to the nation," Mr Kant said.
The first draw will be held on December 25, and the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) will announce the 15,000 winners who will get Rs 1,000 each day for the next 100 days. There will also be 7,000 weekly awards each for consumers and merchants.
On April 14, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, a mega draw will be held. Consumers can win awards of Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh while merchants can win Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.
"The focus of Lucky Grahak and Digi-Dhan Yojana is on poor, middle class and small businesses so as to bring them into the digital payments revolution," said Mr Kant. He said those who use credit cards and e-wallets of private companies will not be eligible to participate in the scheme.
Those who pay using government issued RuPay cards or through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Aadhar-Enabled Payment Systems, will be eligible for lucky draws.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a sudden ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes on November 8, aimed at combating black money and money laundering. The transition to a cashless economy is the next big step in that battle against corruption, the government has said.