A day after the Prime Minister’s Office contacted Puducherry government to take up a pilot project ahead of implementing cashless transactions across the country, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said they will be unable to do so unless the government provides adequate infrastructure for the majority of the population.
“Unless my people accept this and the Centre provides basic infrastructure, we are unable to go ahead,” he said.
Narayanasamy added: “My state has a large majority of rural population without access or having enough banks and ATMs. Farmers in my state have no smartphones. How do we implement a cashless transaction project in this scenario?”
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Talking to The Indian Express, he said demonetisation was already having severe impact on crucial revenue sectors. “It was a tragic bungling act. Total trade and tourism has come down by 40 per cent. There is a 30 per cent dip in our excise revenue. We estimate that overall impact is going to affect us for more than one year…”
He said Puducherry government had taken up several pilot projects in the past including Direct Benefit Transfer of food subsidy and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
“We voluntarily did the pilot for Open Defecation Free project as we largely benefited from that. But in a state where the population is largely illiterate and clueless about what is a smartphone is, how do we go about a cashless transaction project? Neither there are adequate number of bank branches nor ATMs, and swiping machines are unheard of… PMO had contacted my Chief Secretary to propose the idea of taking up a pilot project on cashless transactions. I will be writing our realities to them,” he said.