The government has given over Rs 153.5 crore reward money to nearly 10 lakh citizens under its scheme to incentivise digital payments and make India a less cash economy, NITI Aayog head Amitabh Kant said on Tuesday.
The winners include over 9.2 lakh consumers and 56,000 merchants, Kant said, citing the figures by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which has been executing the schemes -- launched on December 25 last year in the aftermath of the government's November 8 demonetisation move.
The scrapping of the large currency notes of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes created an unprecedented crash crunch with people across the country queuing up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw their own money.
The government then encouraged people to go for digital transactions and launched the Lucky Grahak Yojna (LGY) for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojna (DVY) for merchants to incentivise them and promote digital payments. The schemes will remain open until April 14.
There are 15,000 daily winners qualifying for total prize money of Rs 1.5 crore, as per the schemes. In additional to this there are over 14,000 weekly winners qualifying for total prize money of over Rs 8.3 crore every week.
Customers and merchants who use RuPay Card, BHIM/UPI, USSD based *99# service and Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service are eligible for winning daily and weekly lucky draw prizes.
According to the data available until February 20, some 120 consumers have won prize money worth Rs 1 lakh each, Kant said, adding that nearly 4,000 merchants have also won price money of Rs 50,000 each.
"It has been 58 days since the launch of NITI Aayog's two incentive schemes …and the public response has been quite encouraging," the NITI Ayog chairman said.
"The initiative to make digital payments a mass movement in India through the two schemes has made headway across the country with more and more people adopting digital transactions."
According to the NCPI data, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have emerged as the top five places with a maximum number of winners.
The winners, according to a NITI press statement, belong to diverse socio-economic backgrounds - farmers, merchants, small entrepreneurs, professionals, housewives, students and retired persons.
The majority of the winners are in the age group of 21 to 30.
The statement said the winners include Delhi's 22-year-old cab driver, Sabir, who won Rs 100,000 under the scheme for consumers.
"Digital payments are a blessing in disguise for him because he has to take care of his mother and differently-abled sister and doesn't have time to stand in" queues for cash, the NITI statement said.