India and the world have been going through an unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown has forced a large population to stay at home. In such trying times, neighborhood merchants such as kirana stores owners, pharmacies, milkmen and vegetable vendors have emerged as the true warriors by ensuring the supply of essential commodities to most households in the country.
There are 63.4 million small merchants and traders in India who account for nearly 30% of India’s GDP, employing about 460 million people1. As an expression of gratitude towards every merchant in India, Mastercard has released a new television commercial featuring the legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In the video, Dhoni strikes an emotional chord with every Indian by reliving how merchants have been at the forefront of India’s fight against COVID-19, maintaining a delicate balance between social distancing and their societal commitment.
The video also depicts people of different backgrounds sharing their favorite memories of neighborhood merchants and thanking them for their support. It concludes by urging viewers to do the same by calling +91-9319138139 or by tweeting their thank you messages along with the hashtag #ThankYouVyapaariyo. Post-lockdown, the same phone line will be used for receiving requests from merchants to enable their shops with digital payments acceptance infrastructure.
This initiative is an extension of Mastercard’s relentless commitment to empowering the merchant community in India. The company has a stated goal of enabling 10 million merchants with digital payments acceptance infrastructure and financial literacy by 2020. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a strategic partner with Mastercard on this journey. His support has played a significant role in taking Mastercard’s ‘Team Cashless India’ initiative to every corner of the country to expedite merchants’ digital payments acceptance journey.