We all might have noticed an increased thrust towards a cashless economy, towards digital ‘enabled’ India in the recent Union Budgets. Though it might seem a forced process we have to see that ‘Digital India’ creates unprecedented opportunities for itself. The Digital India programme by the Government of India visions to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The Vision is to provide the facility of seamless digital payment to all citizens of India in a convenient, easy, affordable, quick and secure manner.
“Having picked up fresh vegetables from the local vendor, Purvish reached for his back pocket to pay, only to realize that his leather wallet has been sucked dry by the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes. He immediately flashed out his smartphone, scanned the QR code hung on the side of the stall, punched in the amount and the payment was done. The vendor gets an SMS alert and so does he, ‘transaction successful’.”
The period of demonetization was surely tough for all but it has made us realize that our country is able to move towards a cashless economy. Payment alternatives like BHIM, Rupay, Paytm, Tez etc. are now accessible and used in almost all sections of the society ranging from big conglomerates to vegetable sellers. Digital payment is faster and easier form of transaction. One can transfer money from his bank account to other in a matter of seconds through his mobile phone. Apart from this, digital payments are transparent and accountable to finest details. It also decreases corruption in taxes as all transactions are recorded and this helps in boosting the nation’s economy. In the long term, it leads to better business and investment prospects for the economy as a whole. More currency in the bank will mean more circulation of money in the economy, leading to greater liquidity. Also, there are various digital wallets that act as a one-stop solution to paying all kinds of bills viz phone bills, tv bills, gas bills etc.
As many as 10 modes of digital payments are active in India. Some of which are Banking Cards, USSD, UPI, mobile wallets, Internet Banking etc. The Government of India has launched various awareness programs so that these methods can be adopted in the remotest of areas leading to the constant development of the economy. It has been observed that the number of UPI transactions have increased 8-fold in the last few months. With UPI, fund transfer requests can be initiated without providing IFSC code or account number. Money can be sent using a virtual address. It is predicted that the cashless payments sector will reach 1 trillion in the next 5 years.
In order to encourage cashless transactions and to protect the interest of people using digital modes of payment, the Indian government has announced multiple schemes that will spur the movement of digital payments in the country.
Some of the many initiatives are as follows:
The digital literacy and awareness in the rural areas are extremely low. To educate millions of citizens about digital payments, Union IT Minister, Ravishankar Prasad has recently launched a 24-hour TV channel named ‘DigiShala’. According to Mr. Ravishankar Prasad, the channel will encourage people for digital payments in their everyday life. The channel will be broadcasting shows targeted at the rural and suburban masses, educating them about various methods of digital payment.
The government is taking a lot of efforts towards creating a cashless society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has launched an Aadhaar based mobile payment application, BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) at the Digi Dhan Mela event. It is a very simple application and your fingerprint is enough. You won’t need internet or a smartphone for this said Prime Minister Modi.
A dedicated helpline, ‘14444’, has been launched by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Nasscom, telecom operators, for addressing all queries regarding digital payments. Apart from this, cheaper sub-urban railway passes, lesser toll charges for cashless mode, more PoS terminals, no additional charges for cashless payments, and cheaper petrol for cashless mode payments.
Adopting digital payments is indeed a strong step for building a stronger economy as there will be enhanced transparency in the economy and tax procuring. Cashless India is a big step towards a better India and it’s important that digital independence is embraced by each one of us.