The BJP-led NDA government seems to have enough evidence to claim that it walks the talk when it comes to cashless transactions. Over the past few years, the number of e-tenders has gone up, though there isn't data on the value.
In the financial year 2015-16, the number of e-tenders rose 80 percent to 7.01 lakh from 3.89 lakh in 2013-14 when the Congress-led UPA demitted office after losing the general elections in May 2014.
In the current fiscal, the Central government has published 5.77 lakh e-tenders, according to data available on Central Public Procurement Portal website.
In 2012-13, the number stood at 2.29 lakh.
The spike is apparently part of the digital push being given by the government since August 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched "Digital India".
As part of its initiatives in the direction, the "Government e-Marketplace (GeM)" was launched on August 9 this year and made requisite amendments to encourage digital transactions.
In order to enable Government buyers to procure on GeM, GFR (General Financial Rules) has been amended by addition of Rule 141A. Upto Rs 50,000, a buyer can do direct purchase and beyond this through price comparison, bidding or reverse auction. Department of Expenditure has also issued directive to all paying authorities to make payments on GeM procurement within a maximum of 10 days. Acceptance or rejection of goods has to be within 10 days of receipt or will be deemed accepted," said Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Modi government has often come in for criticism for its digital push in the wake of the demonetisation of high-value currencies announced on November 8, 2016. It has been accused of pushing too fast, too hard in the context of inadequate digital infrastructure and cybersecurity concerns.
Meanwhile, the government said on Friday that the drive against black money hoarders and tax evaders has resulted in a huge haul of cash, besides admission of undisclosed income. "Approximately Rs 393 crore including Rs 316 crore cash and Rs 77 crore worth of jewellery has been seized. Of the cash seizure, about Rs. 80 crore is in new currency. As a result of these investigations, approximately Rs 2,600 crore of undisclosed income has been admitted by the taxpayers," the finance ministry said in a statement.
In another update, the ministry said the number of bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) stood at 25.82 crore as of December 7, 2016. The PMJDY was launched on August 28, 2014.