Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other dignitaries at Parliament House, in New Delhi, Dec. 13. (Shahbaz Khan/PTI)

To give a big push to cashless transactions, the government announced, Dec. 15, daily, weekly and mega awards worth Rs. 340 crores for consumers and merchants on small digital payments beginning Christmas Day. – @siliconeer #siliconeer #DigitalIndia #Demonetization #Demonetisaiton #NaMo #narendramodi @narendramodi #India #CashlessIndia #LuckyGrahakYojana #DigiDhanVyaparYojana #DigiDhan #IndiaDigitalMoney

Announcing ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and ‘Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana,’ to be launched Dec. 25 as a “Christmas gift” to the nation, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said it is specially focused on bringing the poor, lower middle class and small businesses into the digital payment fold.

The schemes will cover small transactions between Rs. 50 and Rs. 3,000 to encourage every section of the society to move to digital payments.

“The primary aim of these schemes is to incentivize digital transactions so that electronic payments are adopted by all sections of the society, especially the poor and the middle class,” Kant said.

He said the estimated expenditure of the first phase of the scheme (up to April 14) is Rs. 340 crore and going forward the government will announce a slew of other measures to move towards a less-cash economy.

Both the schemes will be supervised by National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) and it will also conduct a technical audit of schemes at back-end operations.

Under the Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers, there will be daily reward of Rs. 1,000 each in a cashback mode to 15,000 lucky winners for a period of 100 days from December 25 till April 13.

Sudarshan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture with message to ‘Join hands for Cashless India’ at a beach in Puri, Odisha, Dec. 15. (Press Trust of India)

Besides, there will be weekly prizes of Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 5,000 for consumers using digital payment mode.

For merchant scheme ‘Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana,’ there will be weekly prizes worth Rs. 50,000, Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 2,500 to be announced during the period.

There will be 7,000 weekly awards each for consumers and merchants. The scheme will end on B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, with mega prize announcements for consumers of Rs. 1 crore, Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 25 lakh for doing transactions digitally between November 8 to April 13.

Likewise, for merchants, the mega prize comprises Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh awards.

Kant said only 5% of personal transactions in India are done through digital channels, meaning 95% is done on cash which is giving rise to a very large informal economy, limiting state’s ability to levy and raise tax base.

Detailing digital transactions post demonetization of old Rs. 500/1000 notes, he said PoS transactions witnessed a jump of 95% since November 8 (till December 7).

RuPay Card transactions were up 316% and e-wallet 271%, while both UPI about and USSD witnessed increase of about 1,200% each.

All forms of transactions through UPI, USSD, Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) and RuPay cards will be eligible for lucky draws.

Niti Aayog also said the scheme is not applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.

Kant said the government has taken a host of measures in last two-and-a-half years to fight corruption and black money and there is a big drive to promote digital payments and a transition to less-cash economy is a strategic manner.