Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat: Focus on digital payments, e-banking schemes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on 25 December, Christmas Day, with his 27th and final edition of 'Mann Ki Baat' for 2016. He announced the launch of two short-term schemes which will promote digital banking to make the economy cashless — Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana — for customers and traders alike to promote mobile banking and e-payments.

His, address as expected was focused around demonetisation and the government's bid to promote a cashless economy. While on one hand Modi noted the hardships faced by people due to the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, on the other hand he recounted the benefits of a cashless economy.

Commenting on the change unfurling in the nation post demonetisation, Modi said there is "an atmosphere of curiosity" in the country as to what is cashless, how cashless business can take place and how one can make purchases without using cash.

He started his talk with wishing everyone 'Merry Christmas' and recalled stories and teachings of Jesus Christ. He also remembered Madan Mohan Malaviya on his birth anniversary while also wishing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday.

He said, "Jesus not just served the poor but has also appreciated the service done by poor, this is real empowerment."

Modi than made the announcement of two schemes to promote digital banking.

"On the day of Christmas, Indians will get the benefit of two schemes — Nigi Dhan Vyapar Yojana' and 'Lucky Grahak Yojana," he announced.

Explaining the two schemes, promoting e-banking, Modi said that on 25 December as a Christmas gift, 15,000 people will get rewards through a draw system, whereby each of the 15,000 winners will have Rs 1,000 in their accounts.

"Starting today, this scheme will continue for the next 100 days. Everyday 15,000 people are going to receive rewards of Rs 1,000 each. In the next 100 days, lakhs of families are going to receive crores of rupees as gift, but you will be entitled to this gift only if you make use of mobile banking, e-banking, RuPay card, UPI, USSD - such means and methods of digital payment," he said.

The draw for rewards will be done based on use of such digital payment methods. In addition, he said, there will be a grand draw once every week for such customers in which the prize money will be in lakhs of rupees. People spending more than Rs 3,000 won't be eligible for the lucky draw.

On 14 April, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, there will be a mega bumper draw where rewards will be in crores of rupees.

Talking about the Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana, which is mainly for traders and businessmen, Modi said traders should adopt this scheme themselves and encourage their customers too in order to make their business cashless.

"Such traders will also be rewarded separately and there would be thousands of these rewards. The traders will run their business activities smoothly and will also have an opportunity to win rewards," the Prime Minister said.

He said this scheme has been designed keeping all sections of society in mind, with a special focus on the poor and the lower middle-class segments.

"Therefore, only those will get its benefits who make a purchase worth more than Rs 50 but less than Rs 3,000. Those who make purchases of more than Rs 3,000 will not be entitled to rewards under this scheme," he added.

Modi said that even the poor can use USSD on simple feature or ordinary mobile phones to buy and sell goods as well as make payments and all of them can also become prospective beneficiaries of this reward scheme.

"In rural areas too, people can buy or sell through AEPS and they can win rewards. Many will be surprised to know that now there are about 30 crore, i.e. 300 million RuPay cards in India, of which 200 million belong to poor families which have  Jan Dhan accounts," the Prime Minister said.

These 300 million people can immediately become part of this rewards scheme, he added.

"I have confidence that the countrymen will evince interest in this system and if you enquire from the young people around you, they would surely be aware of these things and on your asking will tell you about these," he explained.

Modi termed digital movement as a golden opportunity for the youth who should impart as much strength as they can to this with their new ideas, technology and processes.

"But we must also connect with the drive to rid the country of black money and corruption with all our might," Modi asserted, adding that the awareness about how to use technology and make electronic and online payments is spreading very fast.

"During the past few days, the cashless transactions, or cashless trading has increased by 200 to 300 per cent," Modi said, adding that "those businessmen who adopt digital transactions and develop online payment process instead of cash transactions in their trade activities will get income tax rebate".

The Prime Minister also congratulated all the states, including Assam, and other Union Territories that have promoted this campaign in their own ways Modi lauded the organisations and administrations which were taking steps to promote digital platforms for money transactions.

A number of organisations have also successfully carried out many experiments to promote digital transactions among the rural folk and poor farmers, Modi said. "I have been told that Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals (GNFC) Ltd has installed a thousand PoS machines for sale... and in just a few days, 35,000 farmers were sold 5 lakh sacs of fertilisers on digital payment and this was accomplished in only two weeks," he said.

Compared to the last year, the fertiliser sales of GNFC have gone up by 27 percent.

Explaining the urgency, the Prime Minister made the point that the informal sector occupies a major segment in the economy where most people are paid wages in cash for their labour and hard work.

"They are paid their salaries in cash and we know that due to this, they are exploited also. If they are to receive Rs 100, they get only Rs 80, if they are to be paid Rs 80, they are given only Rs 50," he said.

Modi said they are deprived of facilities like insurance and those associated with the health sector. "But now the practice of cashless payment is being adopted; the money is being directly deposited in banks. In a way, the informal sector is getting converted into the formal sector, exploitation is coming to an end. The cut which had to be paid earlier has stopped now and it has become possible for the worker, the artisan and such poor persons to get their full amount of money," he stressed.

Modi also lauded the youth of the nation for embracing the start-up culture and said that the cashless economy will help the promotion of tech-based companies.

Taking a hit on the Opposition, he thanked the people for not believing the 'rumours' spread by people in the time of demonetisation and supporting his move. He condemned the people who criticise the government. He said, "I congratulate people for not only enduring pain but also for giving appropriate answers to those who were trying to misled them."

He expressed disappointment at the non-functioning 'Winter session' of the Parliament.

But he made a note of the passing of 'The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill'. He said, "Amid uproar in Parliament, a good thing happened. As part of my govt's mission for Divyang persons,Rights of Disabled Persons bill was passed."

He took a note of the sportsmen and sportswomen who have made India proud in the year 2016. He congratulated the Indian cricket team on their victory against England.

He wished everyone a Happy 2017.

Updated Date: Dec 25, 2016 17:03:28 IST