New Delhi, December 8
The government announced on Thursday a raft of measures to promote cashless transactions as part of a campaign to incentivize people to go digital a month after the shock culling of high-value currency.
In an evening press conference, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced discounts on a host of products for people using digital wallets or cards for payments.
Petrol and diesel was made cheaper by 0.75% and monthly and seasonal tickets on sub-urban railway by 0.5% for people using plastic money or e-wallets. The government will also offer 5% discount for paid railway services if customers use digital payment modes. Those who book railway tickets online will get Rs 10 lakh accident insurance.
Similarly, 10% and 8% discount will be offered in case of general and life insurance for buying new policy or paying premium online via PSUs websites.
Jaitley said that public dealings with government departments and PSUs through digital mode will be free of transaction fee and MDR charges.
Also credit/debit card transactions up to Rs 2,000 will be exempted from service tax.
The minister further said 10 per cent discount will be available on use of digital mode for paying for RFID or fast-tags for highway toll.
“We were using excessive amount of cash and very limited amount of digital transactions till November 8,” he said, adding there is cost of transacting in cash which has to be borne by economy.
The government has come under opposition attack for its November 8 move to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes but it has repeatedly defended itself, saying the decision was necessary to stamp out black money and counterfeit currency.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also extolled the virtues of a cashless society, giving examples of beggars using ATM machines, and said any pain from a shortage of cash was temporary that would benefit the country in the long run.
Sops for digital users
1) Fuel cheaper on digital payment with 0.75 percent discount in fuel e-payment
2) 2 POS machines to villages with 10K population, 1 lakh villages to be selected
3) Farmers to get Rupay Kisan cards. NABARD will give Rupay card to people who have Kisan Credit Card
4) Monthly, seasonal suburban railway tickets purchased through digital mode to get 0.5 percent discount effective January 1
5) Rs 10 lakh insurance for railway ticket booked online
6) 10 percent discount for toll Smart Cards
7) Payments through digital mode for railways catering, accommodation, retiring room to get 5 percent discount
8) Buying general, life insurance policies from PSU insurers’ websites and premium to get 10 percent and 8 percent discount, respectively
9) Govt depts, PSUs to ensure transaction fee, MDR charges are not borne by customers for public dealings
10) Digital transactions of up to Rs 2,000 will be exempted from service tax