Giving its digital economy drive a shot in the arm, the government through its outreach campaign 'DigiDhan Abhiyan' has enrolled over 1 crore rural citizens for digital methods of payment since its launch earlier this month, an official statement said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Over 3 lakh merchants have started offering digital payment options to rural customers across many districts and blocks in rural India, the statement said.
"The rapid pace at which rural citizens are adopting digital methods of payment demonstrates their support and enthusiasm to be a part of the digital transformation story of our country. It is very encouraging to see our Prime Minister's dream of honest and transparent digital governance turn into reality," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology.
On November 8, the Modi government demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes across the country. Since then the government has been planning to convert the country's economy into a more digital one.
Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have recorded the highest number of enrolments with citizen enrolment crossing 15 lakh and 12.5 lakh respectively, the statement said. Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have recorded the highest number of merchant enrolments crossing 60,000 merchants each, it added.
The common service centres (CSC) and the village-level entrepreneurs have reached out to citizens innovatively to impart digital literacy.
The DigiDhan Abhiyan aims to cover 2 lakh CSC across the rural areas and enable them to become Digital Financial Education centres.
The CSCs will train people about the various digital financial solutions and also enable them to use various modes of electronic payment systems (EPS). The campaign also aims to sensitise merchants and vendors on the use of EPS.
"The DigiDhan Abhiyan outreach in rural India through the common service centres reflects citizen's willingness to go digital and the acceptance of new methods of digital transactions which are convenient and easy to access or use," said Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
"We will continue to leverage newer technologies to build smart digital tools for easy use to enable this massive digital transformation," she added.