New Delhi–There has been an increase of 584 per cent in digital transactions done through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) since demonetisation in November last year, said an official release on Thursday.

“There has been a phenomenal 584 per cent increase (0.3 to 4.5 million) in transactions made through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) since demonetisation. In the same period, payments using Adhaar have also seen an unprecedented jump of 1352 per cent (0.7 to 2.7 million),” a NITI Aayog press release said.

The government is also keen to increase transactions through digital payment methods to 25 billion this year to reduce black money and fight shadow economy, it said.

“Today around eight billion transactions take place annually through digital payment methods. The government is planning to increase this to 25 billion transactions in the current year to bring an end to the shadow economy by reducing black money flowing into the system,” it said.

The release said that more than 14 lakh consumers and 77,000 merchants have been rewarded Rs 226 crore for embracing digital payments under the two incentive schemes — Lucky Grahak Yojana and DigiDhan Vyapar Yojana — which were launched by the Aayog on December 25 last year.

It said that Rs 226,45,40,000 (over Rs 2.26 billion) — Rs. 176,95,40,000 to consumers and Rs. 49,50,00,000 to merchants — has already been disbursed so far under the two schemes and the winners are from various walks of life and diverse age and economic backgrounds.

The DigiDhan Melas are being organised in 100 cities as part of the government’s initiative to popularise digital payments.

“Over 5,000 financial institutions have reached 15 lakh citizens through the melas and at least 16,000 government and private institutions have been declared cashles,” the release said.

It said 100 days of the DigiDhan melas will end with a mega draw on April 14.

It said the BHIM App launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30 last year has been downloaded a record 18 million times.

There also has been an increase of nearly 13 per cent in the number of PoS (Point of Sale) machines sold since October 2016, indicating that more merchants are willingly accepting digital payments, the release said.

It said there are 15,000 daily winners qualifying for total prize money of Rs 1.5 crore every day under the schemes.

In addition, there are over 14,000 weekly winners qualifying for total prize money of over Rs 8.3 crore every week.(IANS)