India launches digital payment app for poor, vows homes for all by 2022
PM Narendra Modi launched the BHIM-Aadhar app (Bharat Interface for Money) to allow millions of phone-less Indians to start using digital wallets. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
India prime minister Narendra Modi's administration unveiled a raft of measures on the occasion of 126th birth anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar -- the architect of India's constitution.
The highlight of the prime minister's address was the launch of an app that will help millions of Indians who have no mobile phone, internet connection, credit and debit card to make digital payments.
Addressing the nation from Nagpur city in west India on Friday, PM Modi rolled out the BHIM-Aadhar app (Bharat Interface for Money) to allow millions of phone-less Indians to start using digital wallets.
"Any citizen without access to smartphones, the Internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally through the BHIM-Aadhaar platform, thus realising Bhim Rao Ambedkar's vision of social and financial empowerment for all," a statement released by NITI-Aayog said. NITI-Aayog is a government-backed think tank.
Twenty-seven major banks were already on board with around three lakh merchants so that they can start accepting payments using BHIM-Aadhaar, the statement said.
Under the new system, merchants will have to download the app and sync them to a biometric scan machine. As for the users, they just need to have the 12-digit Aadhaar code. That will enable traders to transfer the amount from the customer's bank account to theirs.
The Aadhaar card is an identity card based on their biometric and demographic data.
The other initiatives announced by the government was the cash back system and the referral system.
"If you add a person to BHIM app and he makes three transactions, Rs 10 will be added to your account. The scheme will continue till October 14," Modi said.
As for the cashback scheme, traders will get a cashback on every transaction made by them.
The other salient point was Modi's promise to build homes for all Indians by 2022.
As per official data, there are 17.73 million homeless people in India. The housing crisis gets magnified when government data suggest that up to 70 million Indians live in urban slums.
“We have a dream for 2022. The poorest of poor should have a house of his own. And that house must be equipped with electricity, water and other facilities. There should be hospitals and schools in the neighbourhood,” Modi said.
The raft of social policies was announced to coincide with Ambedkar's birth anniversary.
Ambedkar was one of the towering figures in Indian politics to fight for the then-termed untouchables and backward castes in India. He was also the country's first law minister and is credited to have drafted the Indian constitution.
(WION with inputs from agencies)