International

India Tries Lottery To Fix Cash Crisis

With India suffering from a cash shortage ever since the government took away high-denomination Indian notes to clamp down on fraud, the government has come up with a new way to fix the problem: a digital lottery.

According to a report, starting on Christmas Day, India will hold a lottery each day for anyone who uses a new electronic payment system. The prizes will range from around $15 a day to as much as $1,500. On April 14, the prize will be greater than $1.5 million, according to the report.

“Our objective is to make digital payments a huge mass movement in this country,” Amitabh Kant, CEO of the state-run think tank NITI Aayog, told CNN, according to the report. NITI Aayog is the firm behind the electronic payment lottery.

In order to take part in the lottery, citizens have to enroll in the electronic payment system and get an ID number. Every day, the Indian government will draw 15,000 numbers for $15 prizes. Larger draws will happen each week, with the winnings ranging fro $73 to $1,472.

In November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country’s 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes were being taken out of circulation. 

As reported by the BBC, taking those notes out of the financial system represents an effort to stymie fraud efforts, corruption and what the site noted as “illegal cash holdings.” Modi stated that the illegal activities are among the “biggest obstacles in eradicating poverty” — with a bead being drawn on tax evaders, according to the BBC. In place of the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, a new set of 500-rupee and 2,000-rupee notes are being issued as replacements. Banks have 50 days to comply with the new directive, with individuals able to exchange those notes beginning Nov. 10 and extending through Dec. 30. As the site noted, earlier this year, the Indian government garnered roughly $10 billion through a tax amnesty program, through which Indian citizens were able to declare assets and income that had been previously hidden.

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