Is India ready to go cashless?
Demonetization not only created a huge expectation to scoop out black money and end corruption but also sowed the seed of what may get to be called a new era - the cashless India movement. Amid all the protests and praises, Modi government has definitely paved way for India to accept the plastic way of payment.
It lies in our hands on how we take it. Either we take it positively and welcome digitalization of money in every walk of life and help the needy with teaching them on how to carry the tasks digitally or join hands with the protestors on how it is affecting the poor and cry to bring the changes to an immediate halt.Yes1. Using debit/credit/RuPay cards:
A few days of cash distress and it was witnessed that many people who hadn’t used their debit/credit ever before made purchases at PoS and other ways. It is clear enough that people will use cards for transactions if they have it. Let’s accept it - using these cards for shopping and other purposes is way easier than cash withdrawal from ATMs.2. Payment banks:
Airtel Payment Bank has made its debut in Rajasthan and is soon expected to be opening up centers in every city/town/village of India. Making payments and receiving them will not just be easier for educated people but also for those who are not very well versed with digitalized processes. It will only be a matter of time when people become adapted to this system of transactions.3. PayTm:
Fruits and vegetables vendors, household help, drivers, watchmen etc. in cities have adapted to getting paid via Paytm. It is simpler and one is immediately informed of the transaction made in their account. Switching over wasn’t difficult after all. With a little help to these people around us, we can make it possible for them to stay in tune with a cashless society.4. Revealing true income:
Going cashless would bring in the much needed transparency. Merchants will have to reveal their true income and pay taxes accordingly. This would eventually be beneficial for the development of our nation. We are short of funds when it comes to catering to the needs of farmers and Indian railways. It is about high time India should take a stand against the hindrances in the way of development.5. Convenient PoS machines:
Earlier the PoS machines were scaring small merchants with their bulky size and cost of payment but now they are not just affordable and smaller but also come with lower monthly charges. They can now run smoothly on low speed internet connections which were also one of the problems earlier. No1. Cyber threats:
It was only recently that about 30 lakh debit cards were said to be affected by security hacks and leaked PIN code at ATMs. People were asked to have their PIN changed. Some were also issued new cards. People were panicky everywhere with the mere thought of losing their hard earned money. Even though most of them were able to recover their money back after months, it made cyber threats with digitalized transactions even more evident.2. Limited Internet Access:
Not everyone has a 4G smartphone supporting Reliance’s free JIO net to console their transactions on high speed internet. Once the offer period is over, those who have availed this service will also have to bear the high internet charges to use high speed internet. It is not very difficult to see that vendors and masonry workers will not be able to afford data packs to support cashless transactions.3. Loopholes for stealing:
The non tech-savvy will be vulnerable even if they start using the easy to pay and transfer services being offered by PayTm, Digital wallets, Airtel Money etc. These people will not be very aware of logging out and not saving their passwords here and there. The crook-minded can easily take advantage of their innocence and transfer funds from their smartphones. A larger part of our nation is uneducated. Going cashless is only possible when everyone is comfortable with e-transactions.4. Lack of infrastructure:
Not enough charging points in public places are a big hindrance for a cashless society. Even in railway stations and trains, people face inconvenience of charging phones. What will people do when they are on the go and their phone battery decides to die? Our banks too are not ready to handle bulk e-transactions.
There are definite benefits of going cashless and government is doing all that it can to make cashless transactions easy for the poor and uneducated. However, the inconveniences though less in number than before, are more prevalent. These are some ultimate hindrances and without doing away with them, it will be difficult to go absolutely cashless