New Delhi: In the aftermath of the cancellation of the legal tender character of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, there has been a surge in the digital transactions through use of credit or debit cards and mobile phone applications or e-wallets etc.
To further accelerate this process, the Central Government has decided on a package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country.
The following are the incentives/measures taken up the government to promote digital payments:
1. The Central Government Petroleum PSUs shall give incentive by offering a discount at the rate of 0.75 percent of the sale price to consumers on purchase of petrol or diesel if payment is made through digital means.
2.To expand digital payment infrastructure in rural areas, the Central Government through NABARD will extend financial support to eligible banks for deployment of 2 POS devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population of less than 10,000. These POS machines are intended to be deployed at primary cooperative societies/milk societies/agricultural input dealers to facilitate agri-related transactions through digital means.
This will benefit farmers of one lakh village covering a total population of nearly 75 crore who will have facility to transact cashlessly in their villages for their agri needs.
3.The Central Government through NABARD will also support Rural Regional Banks and Cooperative Banks to issue “Rupay Kisan Cards” to 4.32 crore Kisan Credit Card holders to enable them to make digital transactions at POS machines/Micro ATMs/ATMs.
4. Railway through its sub urban railway network shall provide incentive by way of discount upto 0.5% to customers for monthly or seasonal tickets from January 1, 2017, if payment is made through digital means.
5. All railway passengers buying online ticket shall be given free accidental insurance cover of upto Rs 10 lakh.
Nearly 14 lakh railway passengers are buying tickets everyday out of which 58 percent tickets are bought online through digital means. It is expected that another 20 percent passengers may shift to digital payment methods of buying railway tickets. Hence nearly 11 lakh passengers per day will be covered under the accidental insurance scheme.
6. For paid services e.g. catering, accommodation, retiring rooms etc. being offered by railways through its affiliated entities/corporations to the passengers, it will provide a discount of 5 percent for payment of these services through digital means.
All the passengers travelling on railways availing these services may avail the benefit.
7. Public sector insurance companies will provide incentive, by way of discount or credit, upto 10 percent of the premium in general insurance policies and 8 percent in new life policies of Life Insurance Corporation sold through the customer portals, in case payment is made through digital means.
8. The Central Government Departments and Central Public Sector Undertakings will ensure that transactions fee/MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by them. State Governments are being advised that the State Governments and its organizations should also consider to absorb the transaction fee/MDR charges related to digital payment to them and consumer should not be asked to bear it.
9.Public sector banks are advised that merchant should not be required to pay more than Rs 100 per month as monthly rental for PoS terminals/Micro ATMs/mobile POS from the merchants to bring small merchant on board the digital payment eco system.
Nearly 6.5 lakh machines by Public Sector Banks have been issued to merchants who will be benefitted by the lower rentals and promote digital transactions. With lower rentals, more merchants will install such machines and promote digital transactions.
10.No service tax will be charged on digital transaction charges/MDR for transactions upto Rs 2000 per transaction.
11.For the payment of toll at Toll Plazas on National Highways using RFID card/Fast Tags, a discount of 10 percent will be available to users in the year 2016-17.