The Hindu Business Line
Now, to push card payments at kirana shops
These would be Aadhaar-linked transactions, says Ravi Shankar Prasad
Moving ahead breakneck speed to boost cashless transactions, the Centre now proposes to rope in kirana shops with Meri Dukaan Digital Dukaan, an Aadhaar-linked payments mechanism, tailored on the lines of the ‘Paytm’ symbol.
“The more an Aadhaar-linked mechanism enables payments, the higher will be the use of cashless transactions. This would become the most convenient part of payments,” Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, told reporters here. Prasad said his Ministry (MeitY) was promoting Aadhaar in a big way, along with the Finance Ministry, as 99.2 per cent of the total adult population has Aadhaar now.
‘Digital India’ symbol
“Just like STD/ PCO (public call office) signs were famous in early and late 1990s, the Meri Dukaan Digital Dukaan banner along with the ‘Digital India’ symbol will be popularised in each corner shop in India,” Prasad said, adding that banks can also tag their names in the same banner after tying up with shops.
He said the Aadhaar-enabled payment system is required because around 30 crore people still do not have mobile/smartphones and cannot do online transactions or use mobile wallets or e-wallets at any point in time.
To promote such a mechanism, the staff from departments under MeitY, including Common Service Centres (CSCs), National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology (NIELIT) and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), are being trained to further train shopkeepers and the public.
Prasad said over the past one month, there has been lot of awareness training in various districts and blocks. Each village level entrepreneur of the CSC has been asked to train 10 shopkeepers in the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, he said, adding that workshops are being held in 500 districts and 6,500 blocks. As of Friday, more than 8.34 lakh people had registered for training, 7.86 lakh had been trained and activated, more than 28,000 shopkeepers are enabled for cashless transactions in 500 districts and around 1,450 blocks, Prasad said. As per the earlier announcement, there are around two lakh CSCs that are to train 1.2 crore people; three lakh students to be trained by NIELIT; 37 lakh IT professionals to be trained by STPI; and the trainings are going on a fast-track now.
To drive digital payments, incentives are also given to these CSC trainers, Prasad said. For instance, ₹200 is paid per workshop; ₹10 per person for onboarding individuals; and for on-boarding shopkeepers, ₹100 per shopkeeper.
However, there’s a catch. To do cashless transactions, shopkeepers will have to buy a biometric (fingerprint) reading device that costs ₹1,500-2,000 to take the online payments from customers.
Asked if Aadhaar would be made mandatory in all these shops or petrol pumps, Prasad said: ‘There is no such thought floating around as of now.