The Government will launch within a month two schemes — the Referral Bonus Scheme for individuals and cash back Scheme for merchants — to promote the indigenous digital payments app Bhim. "We have completed inter-ministerial discussion. Cashback schemes announced in the Budget 2017-18 would be implemented in one month," Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at a press meet.
The Bharat Interface for Money (Bhim) app was launched on the iOS platform earlier this month. It is also available on the more popular Android platform. "There has been over 17 million downloads of the Bhim app so far," Kant said.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech for 2017-18 had said, "Already there is evidence of increased digital transactions. The Bhim app has been launched. It will unleash the power of mobile phones for digital payments and financial inclusion." Jaitley had indicated that there would be schemes headed to the Bhim app during the budget speech, among other plans to promote the less cash economy.
The cashback scheme and referral bonus will be in addition to existing programs to promote digital transactions. Niti Aayog has already disbursed over 153 crore in reward money under two existing schemes for promoting digital transactions over a course of the 58 days that the Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants has been active. There have been over 9.8 lakh winners. Consumers and merchants using the Bhim App, Aadhaar enabled payment system (AEPS), UPI (Universal Payment Interface), the USSD based *99# service are automatically eligible for the daily and weekly luck draws. The schemes are expected to continue till April 2017.
With inputs from PTI