Towards Cashless Society

  M. Gopiraman Singh
Assistant Professor, St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama  

India’s demonetization initiative towards developing a cashless economy has opened other avenues to make payments. Despite of having many payment options many of us still reluctant to do cashless transactions. Different apps of banks and different e-payment options are available. Card swiping facilities can be used in shops and everyone can ensure they pay safe using their credit and debit cards. This very innovative technology makes life so easy never thought in the history of mankind.  

To reason out why all of us do not use less cash and more cashless is very important as we know how far cashless transaction is to ease of doing transaction and gain in the national income. It may root out Black Money, the vision of honourable Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, if the India becomes cent percent cashless society.  

Not all the members of a family are familiar with cashless transaction. Some of them like to visit bank still. They may be hesitated to use digital payment mode or any kind of etransaction as they don’t want to be victims of threats and hacking though this payment mode is more convenient than any other mode. The system must assure security to the people. People should also be aware of internet security laws including dos and don’ts.  

Internet blockage is very frequent in this region where we live in as we have full of conflicts and issues. Sometime we do not get internet access for one or two weeks whenever there is public unrest among the ethnic groups. We sometime can’t rely on the connectivity as cited above. Cashless transaction becomes paralysed in such troubled places. Whatever the reason may be internet blockage is not the solution to any social issue. Internet connection should be uninterrupted.  

Many a time banks can’t do any transaction, shops can’t swipe cards and apps can’t be used whenever there is poor internet connection. This is the fact here in the state of Nagaland forgetting internet connectivity, we staying fifteen to twenty kilometres away from the capital town are hardly able to make calls free flow. This poor connectivity certainly discourages people to adopt the system of going cashless. There is urgent need of increase in internet connectivity penetration across the country especially in the rural areas.  

There are some sections of the society who hardly feed their stomach with their earnings. Having internet connection is very costly on the other hand. Technology is very far from them. There must be some common places where connection is available free of cost. Many people in the age group of 50 and above are hardly able to make or receive calls. For them using cash is preferable. People living in the interior places might not have even heard about the vary term “cashless transaction”. We simply can’t avoid them from using smart phone having internet connection and do cashless transaction. They should be more informed. Awareness programmes, discussions, workshops and seminars should be arranged in the large scale for such people.  

No wonder the day after the announcement of demonetisation people wondered from one bank to bank, one ATM booth to another. There was hues and cries across the country. We are still not ready for the move towards total cashless. As the day begins there are many daily activities wherein we need cash. Having a cup of tea, buying newspaper, buying vegetables, getting haircut done, paying taxi fares as we don’t have facility like UBER or OLA Cabs and the list goes on. Our society still functions primarily on cash due to lack of penetration of e-payment modes, digital illiteracy of e-payment and cashless transaction methods and habit of handling cash as a convenience.  

On the other hand there are number of options available and efforts are made both from government and private sectors providing eServices to the public whereby cashless transactions are possible. Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner. It is beyond just a bank account. The idea is to convert cash economy into a cashless and digital economy. It has been announced that Under Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) more than 20 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts have been opened out of which more than 23% are zero balance accounts and more than 15crore bank accounts are purely from rural belt. This is one of the steps taken by Government of India to bring rural people and poor under cashless ambit.  

BHIM was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister at a Digi Dhan programme at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on 30 December 2016 which aims at the inclusion of underbanked society in the mainstream banking services. We can do digital payments through mobile phone using UPI (Unified Payment Interface) platform via Mobile App and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) platform via *99# service including mobile banking transaction using base feature mobile phone without having internet connection. Banking customers can avail this service by dialling *99#on their mobile phone and transact through an interactive menu displayed on the mobile screen.  

Banking offers enormous flexibility as it provides ease of transaction. AEPS allows online financial transaction at PoS (Point of Sale / Micro ATM) through the Business Correspondent (BC)/Bank Mitra of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) like PhonePe empowers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. Mobile wallets like PayUMoney, PayTM, Freecharge, Mobikwik, ICICI Pockets, Airtel Money, Oxigen wallet etc are ways to carry cash in digital format. These are applications that seek to simplify the cashless payment experience.  

Many options are available where we can avoid using cash. The need for the government to push everyone to use digital payment is to make them dependent on the new trend of banking system. The government will want to discourage its citizens from using cash. Before the banking regulations become more rigid and restriction becomes tighter let us start using less cash and more cashless so that we can contribute towards making our country totally cashless society. Let us look forward to a society where everything is possible whether it may be small tea stall, vegetable vendors, hair saloon, vehicle workshops, petrol pumps, taxis and other unsaid areas without physical money.