NITI Aayog announces cash incentives for 'cashless payments'

The NITI Aayog will provide incentives to the district administration for every individual shifting to digital payment mode, its chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said in a letter to district collectors.

Each citizen who performs at least two cashless transactions with the government will earn their district administration an extra Rs10 from the Niti Aayog, to be spent on promoting e-payments across the population.

''An incentive of Rs10 will be provided to district collectors or DMs or deputy commissioner for every individual who has transited to digital payment mode and has undertaken at least two successful transactions,'' Kant said in his letter to collectors.

This incentive comes over and above a sum of Rs5 lakh that every district will receive for the campaign, launched today to try and make all government-citizen transactions cashless.

To earn the cash incentive, the transactions should be in either of the form of unified payment interface, USSD, Aadhaar-enabled payments, digital wallets, debit cards or prepaid cards.

The top ten best performing districts of India will be awarded the Digital Payment Champions of India award and the first 50 panchayats to go cashless will be awarded the Digital Payment Award of Honour by the NITI Aayog, Kant said.

Each panchayat and district will be required to show that citizens have undertaken at least two successful transactions through each of these five methods.

The Niti Aayog had made a presentation before 525 district collectors on 29 November on the ways of promoting digital payments. It has now asked them to go completely cashless in all disbursements as well as procurements.

It further asked the collectors to assemble "digital armies" of young volunteers who will train people to pay digitally.

In Delhi, a team of experts has been training central government employees in the various methods of digital transactions. A meeting with the state chief secretaries and finance secretaries was held last week.

"We want to make this a mass movement. We will percolate the idea of digital transactions from the states, cities and ministries to the panchayat and taluka levels," a senior Niti Aayog official said. "By the end of it, people will take pride in being digital."

The government is banking on the 350 million smartphones in use in India to be the vehicle for these e-payments.

In addition, Common Service Networks are being mobilised to enlist the support of people and the merchants in going cashless. Ministry of electronics and information technology has announced cash incentive of Rs100 for every merchant enabled to transact digitally. Two resource persons have been provided in each district collectorate to co-ordinate the CSE in each district.

NITI Aayog has also solicited the views of the districts in terms of the challenges being faced by them, the solutions thereof and the manner in which they can be supported.

It has lauded the efforts made by the district authorities in designing innovative campaigns to help spread digital payments in their respective districts and urged upon them to share and document the best practices.

It will go a long way towards ushering in an era of transparency and good governance for a corruption free India envisaged by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.