Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the 'DigiDhan' movement was not only about curbing corruption, but also about giving a voice to the poor.
He also launched two schemes, giving a further push to the Centre's efforts to create a less-cash system, on the 126th birth anniversary of social justice crusader BR Ambedkar.
Modi, who paid tribute to Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi, where the Dalit icon had embraced Buddhism, linked the new schemes with his vision of social justice and financial empowerment.
"We have been working towards a digital India for quite some time. DigiDhan is one of the initiatives which will become 'niji dhan' (personal wealth) of the poor. It will become the voice of the poor," he told a public meeting in Nagpur.
"The DigiDhan movement is a safai abhiyan (cleanliness movement). It is to fight the menace of corruption," he said.
The prime minister launched the BHIM-Aadhaar Pay app, a biometric-based payment system which will make payment through thumb impression a reality.
He also launched incentive schemes for the BHIM -- cashback and referral bonus -- with an outlay of Rs 495 crore for a period of six months.
Seeking to rope in youngsters to promote cashless transactions, Modi said for every person introduced to the BHIM app, one will get a cashback of Rs 10.
"If you refer 20 persons a day, you can earn Rs 200," he said.
Under the referral bonus scheme, both the existing users who refer BHIM and new users who adopt it would get a cash bonus which will be credited directly to their bank account. Under the cashback scheme, the merchants will get a cashback on every transaction on BHIM.
Both the schemes will be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and implemented by the National Payments Corporation of India.
BHIM-Aadhaar, the merchant interface of the BHIM app, paves the way for digital payments through the Aadhaar platform.
This will enable the citizens to pay digitally using the biometric data like thumb imprint on a merchant's biometric- enabled device, which could be a smartphone with a biometric data reader.
Anyone without access to smartphones, internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally through the BHIM-Aadhaar platform.
"This will make digital payments easy even for those who cannot read or write, thus realising Ambedkar's vision of social and financial empowerment for all," Modi said.
The prime minister had recently expressed gratitude to the people, saying that over the last few months, the country had witnessed an atmosphere where people in large numbers participated in the digital payment 'Digidhan' movement.
Commenting on the Aadhaar-based digital payment mobile app, he said, "The BHIM app is positively impacting several lives across the country.
"We are reaching a time when mobile phones will be where financial transactions will take place."
In December 2016, Modi had launched the BHIM app to facilitate electronic payments by consumers. In March, the government launched Aadhaar Pay, a new Android-based app.
"Transactions can be possible (even) with less cash," Modi said.
Highlighting the importance of digital transactions, he said, "Five security personnel guard an ATM. At times, there are problems in providing security to someone's life but there is security for ATMs.
"The BHIM-Aadhaar Pay app is such a modern and apt facility which even the technologically advanced countries do not have.
"It will pave the way for digital payments through the Aadhaar platform. This will enable every Indian citizen to pay digitally using their biometric data like thumb imprint on a merchant's biometric-enabled device which could be a smartphone with a biometric data reader."
Modi said that day was not far when reputed universities of the world will come to India to conduct case studies on the BHIM-Aadhaar app.
"It will become the basis for what could be a financial change in the world. This initiative will become a world phenomenon. Similarly, the DigiDhan initiative has been well received in different parts of the country," he added.
"There was an era when the thumb was a sign of being illiterate. Now, the thumb (used for Aadhaar-based transactions) has become your strength," said Modi.
Awards worth Rs 250 crore have been given to boost less- cash transactions, he said.
"Those who got this award should now become ambassadors of the less-cash campaign," he added.
The prime minister also felicitated the winners of the mega draw of incentive schemes to promote digital payments -- the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the DigiDhan Vyapaar Yojana.
Shradha, a girl from Latur in Maharashtra who won Rs 1 crore, was also felicitated by him.
Dwelling on the importance India attached to renewable energy, Modi said, "One of the sectors to which we devote significant efforts is renewable energy, which is vital in the 21st century."
Modi, who also laid the foundation stones for an IIM, an IIIT and an AIIMS at Nagpur, said, "The projects inaugurated today will help our youngsters."
He also dedicated 1980 MW of the Koradi thermal power project to the nation.