Demonetization was a soothing shock for everyone.
Some hailed it as the strongest initiative by the government to derail corruption and some believed that it will only amplify problems for the common man. No matter how much we debate over it, the initial consequences of demonetization were quite upsetting and the government looked half-prepared for it. However, on the bright side, all the deceptive people who were committing black money frauds suffered a massive loss.
PM Modi made it very clear – It’s time to go digital. Keeping this ambition in mind, Nikhil Kumar came up with the ‘BHIM’ app to help people cope with the cash crunch and make their payment mode user-friendly and digital.
The ‘BHIM’ (Bharat Interface for Money) app was launched on December 30, 2016, and since then, it has been downloaded by more than 15 million users.
The features and elements of this app are different and more useful than other payment apps like ‘Paytm’, ‘Freecharge’ and ‘Mobikwik’. This app is built on the technology called UPI(Unified Payment Interface), which allows people to do phone banking in an easy way. Unlike ‘Paytm’, the user does not have to take out money from his bank account, transfer in his/her e-wallet and then, make his/her payment. Using UPI code, he can directly pay through his bank account.
How did Nikhil Kumar come up with this brilliant idea?
This idea came up to him much before the storm of demonetization had attacked the economy. It was way back in February 2016 when he and his team went to companies like ‘Freecharge’ and ‘Flipkart’ to promote their ‘UPI’ mechanism. In return, their idea was rejected.
Their fate changed after Modi’s dramatic move of note ban came. The government badly needed an app to smoothen cash transactions. This is when Nikhil’s team was asked to create a payment mechanism with a simple interface which could be used by all.
The ‘BHIM’ App was born.
He promised them that he would design the app in just three weeks. Finally, Nikhil was given three weeks. The first week was spent on conceptualizing, designing, and prototyping of the app while its development took the remaining two weeks. By December 25, the app was ready. Nikhil and his team went to Delhi to demonstrate the app to government departments like ‘NITI Aayog’ and the PMO.
During his speech at the ‘TimesLitFest’ in Bengaluru, Nikhil recalled his meeting with the government:
“All were very excited. I actually remember the IT secretary turning to the CEO of NITI Aayog and saying that this was game-changing and that they had to launch the app dramatically. The fun factor was that the name BHIM was picked by Modi.”