Cashless Transactions: Government Again on Front Foot

Remember guys, how the government after demonetization encouraged cashless transactions aiming for a significant migration towards a digital economy? Well, those were not just campaign slogans. After launching the BHIM App for e-transactions and many more incentives/measures to promote a cashless/digital economy (which we will discuss later in this post), the government recently took another step in this endeavour.
cashless transactions

What is New?

The largest bank of India and the Department of Posts i.e State Bank of India & India Post joined hands to promote cashless transactions at the post office counters.


What's there in it?

In this collaboration, SBI will give a push to 'SBI Buddy e-wallet' and POS (Point of Sale) machines for cashless transactions at post office counters while booking speed post and registered post items.

Where Is It Operational As Of Now?

Currently, SBI Buddy e-wallet and SBI POS machines are operational at Chandigarh General Post Office for the general public.
However, PK Swain, Chief Postmaster General, Punjab Circle informed that SBI Buddy e-wallet and SBI POS machines facilities will further extended to other post offices in Punjab.
Other Incentives Offered Or Commendable Measures Taken By The Government So Far

As Per a Release By Ministry of Finance:

  • The Central Government Petroleum PSUs shall give incentive by offering a discount at the rate of 0.75% of the sale price to consumers on the purchase of petrol/diesel if payment is made through digital means. 
  • 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 a 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 crores who will have the facility to transact cashlessly in their villages for their agri needs. 
  • 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. 
  • Railway through its sub urban railway network shall provide incentive by way of discount up to 0.5% to customers for monthly or seasonal tickets from January 1, 2017, if payment is made through digital means. 
  • All railway passengers buying online ticket shall be given free accidental insurance cover of up to Rs. 10 lakh. 
  • 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% for payment of these services through digital means. 
  • Public sector insurance companies will provide incentive, by way of discount or credit, up to 10% of the premium in general insurance policies and 8% in new life policies of Life Insurance Corporation sold through the customer portals, in case payment is made through digital means. 
  • 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 organisations should also consider absorbing the transaction fee/MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) charges related to digital payment to them and consumer should not be asked to bear it. 
  • 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. 
  • No service tax will be charged on digital transaction charges/MDR for transactions up to Rs.2000 per transaction. 
  • For the payment of toll at Toll Plazas on National Highways using RFID card/Fast Tags, a discount of 10% is announced for the users in the year 2016-17. 

What Can One Conclude From All This?

When it comes to the government's vision of a "Cashless/Digital India", it is leaving no stone unturned. Whether it is these recent steps or the relentless advertising/educational campaigns to tilt the inclination of the general public towards digital payments, no one can doubt the government's intentions in this regard.

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