Finance Minister Arun Jailtley (Flickr)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced Tuesday a slew of measures to promote digital payments among the common citizenry.

People will get 0.75 percent discount for digital payments for buying petrol and diesel.

Monthly seasonal tickets in suburban railway networks through digital means will get a 0.5 percent discount.  A 5 percent discount for digital usage will be given for using  railway facilities like catering and retiring rooms.

This measure will come into effect on Jan 1 and Mumbai Railways will be the first to implement it.

“PSUs are also getting POS terminals and micro-ATMs and these also become a path to digital payments,” Jaitley said. These will be given out at a capped rate of Rs. 100 per month, he added.   650,000 machines have already been provided by PSU banks, and all existing machines will also be entitled to this cheap rent.

To expedite the digital switchover, two point of sale (POS) machines will be given to villages with minimum 10,000 people, and 100,000 villages have already been selected.

Rural banks and cooperative banks will provide farmers with card facilities for digital payments, he added.

All transactions under Rs. 2,000 through digital methods will also not attract service tax, or transaction charges.

Insurance policies from public sector insurance companies will get a discount of 10 percent for general insurance, and 8 percent for life insurance, on payments through digital means.

All these measures will go into effect right away with no end date for the time being. “We were using, as of November 8, an excessive amount of cash,” he said, “and there is a cost of transacting in cash. And that cost has to be borne by the economy, and also the political system. In the long run, we are using this also as an opportunity to move towards digitisation.”