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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Akodara - India’s 1st Digital Cashless Village Handles Post Demonetisation Situation In A Hassle-Free Manner

A lot has been already written regarding demonetization of Indian currency. Some experts see it as a bold move while few question it as a political stunt. The government however looks firm on its decision and determined to take this forward towards cashless economy.

I was wondering what a cashless economy is and then I saw this notification on Indian Railways website

Government of India encourages people to move towards a Cashless Economy. This can be achieved by use of debit, credit cards, electronic payment gateway systems such Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross settlement (RTGS) in India. The advantages to citizens of a country in a Cashless Economy are: •Risk of loss of cash while carrying is avoided
•Facilitate exact payment and reduce transaction costs
•Convenience in payment and management of utility bills, purchases and other financial transactions.
•It helps to authenticate financial transactions and maintain proper record facilitating better tax compliance and increasing tax base.
•Digital payments indirectly reduces expenditure by reducing need for printing of currency notes and its transportation
•Electronic transactions helps in curbing corruption and black money flow, thereby helping in economic growth of the country
•Lesser use of cash prevents money laundering and better tax compliance
•Increased tax base would result in greater revenue for public welfare activities 
Indian Railways offers cashless ticketing option to its customer through internet ticketing on IRCTC website for booking reserved tickets. More than 58% of the train accommodation is reserved through e-ticketing . IRCTC also provide option for purchasing Season Ticket for suburban train services on Western and Central Railways. Facility for purchasing unreserved tickets through mobile phones is available at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Secunderabad. Further Automatic Ticket Vending Machines dispensing unreserved tickets using smart cards are provided at over 1000 locations over CR, ER, ECoR, NR, NER, NWR, SR, SECR, SCR, SER, SWR, WR and WCR. The smart cards can be purchased from nominated counters at the stations.
Indian Railways seeks your cooperation and support in helping the Government and the nation in creating a cashless digital economy.
After reading this notification, the critic inside me started to question:

  • Is India ready for this kind of a change? 
  • Do we have the infrastructure in place to make our country completely cashless? 
  • How does the Government expect Indians to use digital payments when most people don't have access to reliable electricity?
While I was still puzzled I came across the below DD News video on youtube:

Akodara, India’s 1st digital village handles post demonetisation situation in a hassle-free manner

Wow, I found this amazing. A village of 1200 people is completely cashless. Government's move of cashless economy then started to make sense to me. Logic is very simple. To start with those who have electricity and internet will use digital payments others will not. And the government will work towards getting internet and electricity access to the rural and remote areas. It will take time but will happen for sure. We need to make a start somewhere.

We cannot expect the government to kick off digitization only when all of India will have electricity and Internet access. That is not practical.
The fact that we have so many Internet users in India reading this article is a testimony that we should kick off digitization right here, right now

India - Let's go cashless.