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Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces lucky draw schemes for people who use Digital Payment methods

Modi also announced 'Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana' which will only be for traders to promote cashless business

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Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.(Representational image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, December 25, 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced lucky draw schemes for people who use digital payment methods including e-banking, mobile banking and e-wallets.

In his monthly radio address to the nation ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi on the occasion of Christmas said 15,000 people who use digital payment modes will be given a reward of Rs 1,000 each by a lucky draw under ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’. This amount will be transferred to their accounts.

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“This scheme will last for 100 days (from Sunday). As such lakhs of people will get crores of rupees,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said there will be one big draw every week with winning price in lakhs.

“On the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti — April 14, 2017 — we will be conducting a bumper draw in which the winning price will be in crores.”

To promote cashless business among the traders across the country, Modi also announced ‘Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana’ which will only be for traders.

Modi also announced tax rebate for the traders doing cashless business.

“To encourage cashless business in the country, the government has taken a major decision. All businessmen adopting digital transactions will get rebate in income tax,” Modi announced in the 27th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

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The Prime Minister appealed the traders to join the schemes and also encourage people to adopt cashless transactions.

“This scheme is to benefit all sections especially poor and lower middle income groups. Hence, only transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 will be rewarded,” Modi said.

Modi said that even poorest of the poor through USSD (unstructured supplementary service data ) can use ordinary feature phone for digital transactions and become eligible for reward scheme. In rural areas people can use AEPS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System) for digital payments.

Modi added that people would be able to take benefit of these schemes only if they use mobile banking, e-banking, RuPay cards, USSD, Unified Payment Interface (UPI) or other digital payment modes.

He said that there has been tremendous increase in awareness about digital transactions, cashless business.

“In the last few days, cashless business has seen 200 to 300 per cent rise. I am sure people will enthusiastically participate in these schemes,” Modi said.

Modi also lauded the efforts of all the states and Union Territories for promoting the campaign of cashless trading and digital transactions.

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“I was told that Assam government has decided to give 10 per cent rebate on property tax and ‘vyapar lisence fee’ if paid through digital transactions. I congratulate Assam government for such initiatives,” PM said.

Modi said that out of 30 crore RuPay cards, 20 crores cards belong to poor families.

“These 30 crore people can join this reward scheme right away. We should be at the forefront of using digital means to make payments and transactions,” he added. (IANS)

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The World Looks Up To India and Modi’s response to Covid-19, commends C’wealth Secy-Gen

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland appreciates India and PM Modi's way of dealing with the Pandemic. IANS

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, controlled it and minimised it, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. She said she was impressed with the way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, the Secretary-General said India — a home to half of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens — is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, with its government, people and institutions contributing in practical ways to collaborate across the 54 member countries, particularly through innovative programmes such as the UN India Fund and Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility.

On the pandemic, she said the whole Commonwealth has been affected by the virus. India reported its first case in January just like the US, Italy and Russia and has made an immense effort to keep the spread of the virus under control and safeguard its citizens. As of May 20, it has over 106,000 cases and 42,298 recoveries — considering the size of its population, India has done well, Scotland said.

“That is why, people are looking to India for how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and people of India have responded to the pandemic, controlled it and minimised it because it could have been so much worse,” she said. “We know that we have never needed multilateralism more than we do today. I was very impressed with how PM Modi pulled together members of SAARC, including Pakistan — everyone came — in which the need for ‘coming together, not growing apart’ was underlined.

PM Modi
The way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan is commendable. Pixabay

“I commend India for providing various medical supplies — testing kits and sanitisers among other items — to SAARC members, including Commonwealth member states Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” she said. “India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally and can, therefore, draw on its growing pharma industry to provide medical supplies to many small Commonwealth states and we’ve been very interested in how India’s made this contribution.” Thanking to India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for participating in the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting this month, she said he highlighted India’s response to COVID-19, under the highest level of political commitment and guidance of Prime Minister Modi, who has been pro-active.

“The Commonwealth looks forward to working more closely with representatives of government and other agencies to share solutions and advice in fighting this pandemic,” she added. Commonwealth Health Ministers, including Vardhan, at the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the pandemic. The ministers have endorsed removing fees for the coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies, including ventilators and testing kits.

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India will chair the next meeting of the Commonwealth Health Ministers in May 2021. As on May 21, 5,000,038 coronavirus cases have been reported globally. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth countries. Seven member states are among the 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases. (IANS)

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National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

The city of Delhi has slowly and gradually reopened

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Shutters are lifted and shops spruced up as Delhi's markets open after two months as lockdown restrictions are eased. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.

Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.

However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.

Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.

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Though markets are open, they are seeing few customers as people remain wary amid the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.

The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff.  Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.

“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.

Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.

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A customer turns up to buy baking tins — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking has been a therapy for people confined indoors. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.

“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.

“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.

That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.

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Most customers head to shops selling essentials like groceries and medicines. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.

“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.

The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.

“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.

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Shops display signs asking people to wear masks and take precautions as new rules are put in place to cope with the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.

“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.

The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.

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Auto rickshaw drivers don’t see too many customers as most people still hesitate to venture outside. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
 A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.

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Mohammad Parvez Khan decided to brave the city’s sizzling summer temperatures to ply his auto rickshaw even during Ramadan because his savings were running out.

“Only we know how we passed these last two months,” he said.

“Every day, when I fasted, I prayed that let the coronavirus go quickly, and may everything come back to how it used to be,” he said. (VOA)

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Paytm Experiences Massive increase in Digital Payments as Many People Work From Home Amidst Coronavirus Fears

However, Paytm which recently launched "All in One" solutions helps offline merchants accept payments even remotely

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Paytm
While according to industry experts, several digital payments firms are witnessing a decline in transactions as the country goes into lockdown, Paytm has gained more traction in the last one month. Wikimedia Commons

Fintech major Paytm on Tuesday said it has witnessed a massive surge in digital payments as more people work from home, avoid venturing out and touching cash to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We have been witnessing 20 per cent growth in digital payments as compared to the regular days. Since February, the number of users visiting the Paytm app and the number of sessions per user has also increased,” a Paytm spokesperson told IANS in a statement.

“There has been a massive surge in repeat transactions for various use-cases like fuel stations, utility payments among others. Offline payments have grown by 12 per cent owing to more people preferring Paytm over cash,” the statement added.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday asked banks to encourage the use of digital payments.

While according to industry experts, several digital payments firms are witnessing a decline in transactions as the country goes into lockdown, Paytm has gained more traction in the last one month. With a 16 million-strong merchant base, Paytm is seeing more businesses extensively accepting payments online.

The Noida headquartered digital payments firm is seeing more people using Paytm for food and grocery delivery, as well as other services, to avoid touching cash as much as possible. Some merchant acquirers such as BharatPe and service providers like Pine Labs have seen a slump in transactions due to shops, malls, eateries remaining shut.

However, Paytm which recently launched “All in One” solutions helps offline merchants accept payments even remotely. This, according to industry insiders, is finding many takers among businesses as more merchants and users are coming on board for digital transactions.

 

Paytm
Fintech major Paytm on Tuesday said it has witnessed a massive surge in digital payments as more people work from home, avoid venturing out and touching cash to stop the spread of coronavirus. Wikimedia Commons

“There has been a 15 per cent increase in incoming requests from offline merchants to partner with Paytm. We are seeing a trend that merchants are offering home deliveries in their neighbourhood and suggesting their customers to Paytm as they fear the bacterial load on the hands and cash,” a Paytm spokesperson said.

As the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in India rises to 126, experts are emphasising on the usage of contactless payment options.

Currency notes are one of the most potent carriers of coronavirus and health departments and experts across India are asking people to avoid touching cash and use digital payments.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier warned that coronavirus can survive on banknotes for several days and the risk of contagion through cash is manifold as it keeps changing hands. (IANS)