Digitisation: Poor connection and many fears; why cash is back in ‘cashless’ villages

Cashless transactions, both officials and shopkeepers concede, are still not the preferred mode of payment in the village of 1,961 residents, who have 1,200 unique bank accounts.

By: Express News Service | Updated: November 8, 2017 10:46 am
demonetisation, demonetisation anniversary, narendra modi, pm modi, modi note ban, Black money, Black money demonetisation, arun jaitley, GST, arun jatiley on demonetisation, demonetisation india, digital economy, digital financial transactions, cashless economy, demonetisation effects Back to cash at a shop in Dhasai village, Maharashtra. (Express Photo: Deepak Joshi)

MAHARASHTRA
Short of cards

The point-of-sale (PoS) machine at Chetan Jewellers in Dhasai village, the country’s “first cashless village”, has not been charged for four days. Storeowner Ashok Mali hasn’t used it for a week. “Hardly anybody pays with an ATM card. Often the machine fails to connect to the server,” he says.

Dhasai, about 100 km from Mumbai, embraced digital payments on December 1 last year, a month after demonetisation. A year on, only 15%-20% of daily transactions are cashless, according to Swapnil Patkar, president of the traders’ association of Dhasai. Cash has returned, he says, because villagers think using ATM cards would result in excess tax deduction, and fear security lapses.

Ranjit Savarkar, chairperson of Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak, which had brought the cashless project to the village by tying up with Bank of Baroda, says families keep just one ATM card these days. “The elders or bread-winners usually have the cards, and give cash to other members.”

Tehsildar Sachin Choudhar says camps and awareness programmes will be held, and the district collector is working on setting up WiFi spots to improve connectivity.

—PRIYANKA SAHOO, Mumbai

***

JHARKHAND
PoS problems

It was from Ranchi’s Nagri block that the state government launched Mission Cashless Jharkhand a month after demonetisation. A year on, traders and customers say connectivity problems, lack of digital literacy and bank back-ups, and easy cash availability have led to a decline in online transactions.

Vinay Kumar Kesri, a supplier of building materials, says about Rs 1.5 lakh “has been stuck” since March even though the Point of Sale machine shows the money has been transferred to his account. He plans to return the machine to the bank now.

The Bank of India (BoI) Nagri Branch head, Veersen Boypai, says there are several such complaints, “some five people have returned their PoS machines, and some others are contemplating doing the same”.

Additional Chief Secretary (Planning-cum-Finance) Amit Khare conceded there are issues. “One is connectivity, the other is the transaction charge. Still, we can say a lot of ground has been covered.”

—PRASHANT PANDEY, Ranchi

***

CHHATTISGARH
Only curious

Last April, Palnar village in Dantewada made headlines after District Collector Saurabh Kumar received an award from the Prime Minister for transforming this remote village to a “cashless” one. On November 20 last year, the district administration had set up a Customer Service Centre ro allow villagers to withdraw and deposit digitally. The centre was made operational through a WiFi hotspot.

Government data for April to August this year show digital transactions of about Rs 27 lakh. Says Dhani Ram Sinha, a shopkeeper who has a PoS machine, says, “People come from all over just to see how it works. It is a matter of pride for us.”

Cashless transactions, both officials and shopkeepers concede, are still not the preferred mode of payment in the village of 1,961 residents, who have 1,200 unique bank accounts. Muchaki, a resident, says, “Very few have cards. Bas jo padhe likhe hain, ya service kar rahein hain, card use karte hain. Internet to use karte hain, par paisa cash mein hi dete hain.”

—DIPANKAR GHOSE, Raipur

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  1. L
    laxmi
    Nov 9, 2017 at 3:30 am
    It's ok if they're comfortable with cash but for more bigger amount purchases they should use cheque so that evils of corruption would not come back.
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. S
      Slave Sunni Wife of Jihadi Muslim
      Nov 9, 2017 at 1:13 am
      Abey Moron, 100 percent cashless transaction cannot be achieved in 1 year. Do you need intelligence for that? if you achieve 20-30 percent in. one year that is an achievement.
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. S
        Suresh Chandra Shukla
        Nov 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm
        नोटबंदी का फैसला जल्दबाजी में किया गया था जिसने प्रवासियों, जिसने आम गरीब और मध्यमवर्ग को शक की नजर से देखा? नोटबंदी में बाज बच गये कबूतर मारे गये. - सुरेशचन्द्र शुक्ल 'शरद आलोक'
        (2)(0)
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        1. K
          Kg
          Nov 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm
          Oh My God!Why India has not become Sweden in one year where 97 percent of transactions are cashless.They have been a developed country with 100 percent literacy for last 50 years, and it has taken them more than 15 years to become cashless, but in India, why can we not do it in one year with 80 percent of illiterate villagers?This govet is a flop! journos.
          (11)(1)
          Reply
          1. S
            Sphinx
            Nov 8, 2017 at 9:29 pm
            First reach to living standards of Sweden.
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. S
              Slave Sunni Wife of Jihadi Muslim
              Nov 9, 2017 at 1:14 am
              Sphinx, Kg is sarcastic. He is right. This govt is a flop. In 2 years we cannot reach the living standards of Sweden? Shame on Modi. Shame on BJP. In 2 years we should have beaten USA.
              (0)(0)
          2. S
            Subash
            Nov 8, 2017 at 1:55 pm
            Demonetization was a monumental failure. Anyone who says it has working or is working does not see the reality in places away from the cities. I voted for BJP in the last election but having to fight to be able to withdraw my own money showed me that this jumla party only works for the industrialists who pumped in a lot of money to ensure this puppet government wins with the feku at its head. Where is the achche din i was promised? where is my 15 lacs i was promised? why did BJP induct scam tainted mukul roy into its fold?? i know some bhakts here will give some flimsy reason but the truth is BJP itself is a party of criminals. wake up people, BJP, tadipar shah, feku and finance minister jhaant-li are absolutely useless
            (17)(2)
            Reply
            1. M
              Mahesh Deshmukh
              Nov 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm
              I tell you with 200 guarantee that you did'nt vote for BJP last election - otherwise you would not have been able to spit sooo much of venom, my friend - why are you lying ?
              (1)(8)
              Reply
              1. Sunny KS
                Nov 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm
                Today Govt statement is that 33 percentage of high cash deposited is hardly less than .0001 percentage population. To be precises about 14000 people out of 130 cr. If that so why government is after digitization in our thousands of village from there nobody enter the 14000 club. If government is really want to implement cashless transaction simply withdraw Rs500 and above note. Poor villager saw Rs500 only on special occasion , that they should manage with multiples of Rs100note. The black money people, corrupt, commission / consultant charges etc become difficult with Rs100 note as they have to carry bundles of note for such anti India activity
                (1)(0)
              2. P
                Prasad
                Nov 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm
                You are a third degree liar. Anybody can make out that you didn't vote BJP and if you think you can change others by saying so you are a fool. Modi is India's Prime minister and luckily we got such a honest person who is trying his best for the country. So, get rid of hatred behaviour and come to reality.
                (0)(3)
                Reply
                1. P
                  Prasad
                  Nov 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm
                  Sorry Mr. Sunny this reply is not for you.
                  (1)(0)
                2. P
                  Prasad
                  Nov 8, 2017 at 5:43 pm
                  You are a third degree liar. Anybody can make out that you didn't vote BJP and if you think you can change others by saying so you are a fool. Modi is India's Prime minister and luckily we got such a honest person who is trying his best for the country. So, get rid of hatred behaviour and come to reality.
                  (0)(2)
                  Reply
                  1. t
                    trebor2311
                    Nov 9, 2017 at 1:40 am
                    I am glad you are honest and have realised your mistake. Now, you know what do for the next elections that are due in 2019.
                    (0)(0)
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