Towards cashless India
R K SINHA
Let us first look at some statistics. Last month on 8th November Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonitisation of 500 Re and 1000 rupee notes. By just one stroke the country changed. Revenue of Municipal Corporation of five major cosmopolitan towns made quantum jump in the month of November 2016 compared to revenue of 2015.
Hyederabad registered a jump of 2,500 per cent, North Delhi MCD revenue increased by 2,434 per cent, Rajkot by 1,275 per cent, Surat by 2,314 per cent and South Delhi by 2037 percent. There was huge jump in the collection of dues for Power, Water, Telephone and Land Revenue. Take it that it was due to demonitisation of high value currency notes. This is just the beginning. Wait for some time to see how the country is making move towards a cashless society which is a big assault on ‘black money’.
Now let us look at its political fallout. After Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar supporting Modi on fight against corruption and black money it is now the turn of RJD Chief Lalu Yadav who too has come out in support of demonitisation. With some anger Lalu said, “I am also in favour of ‘notebandi’ but my objection is to its implementation”. Lalu was compelled to come out in support of demonitisation because opposing it would have threatened the ruling alliance in Bihar. The Congress now is isolated in Bihar on this issue.
Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh and Chandra Shekhar Rao of Telangana, both chief ministers of their respective States have supported the government decision. While Navin Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odishas is in favour of the move, silence of J Jayalalitha of Tamil Nadu means tacit support. In Kerala, the CPM government is opposed to the move but not as aggressively as its Central leadership of the Party.
The outcome of 12 by-elections held last month after demonitisation is also a signal of people’s support to the move. The Congress had to contend itself with a win of only one seat. The BJP won five seats while regional parties got 6 seats- taken together the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies.
Towards Cashless Society
This decision of Narendra Modi has placed the nation on the fast track of cashless transactions. After the demonitisation, according to one estimate, online transactions have risen by 300 per cent.
No doubt, the move has resulted in long queues of people that can be seen outside ATMs and Banks. There is anxiety and some anguish on the face of people who have to wait for long hours to get cash, but there is also a faint smile on their face indicating that common man and majority of the people want era of corruption and generation of black money to end.
Even Mayawati is not mustering enough courage to oppose the move. She and many other Opposition leaders find fault with the lack of preparedness that is causing hardship to people in getting cash from banks and ATMs. But how the government could make advance preparation for implementing the decision? It would have defeated the purpose of the demonitisation. By each passing day, the queues are getting shorter. Beside the point, the process of digitization in cash transaction is on fast track. The online and cashless transaction would increase in 3 monthsthat the country would have achieved in 3 years had this decision was not taken.
The total number of Debit Cards in November 2015 was 62.36 crores. This figure has now gone up to 90 crores. Even Nandan Nilekani, the man behind Adhar Card identification has openly come out in support of the government move towards cashless transactions. We have already created a base for this transformation by having large base of smart and android mobile phones sets with the people. There is also Feature Phone Users for online payment by using Unified Payment Interface application. Those who don’t have mobile phones can use their Adhar cards in Micro ATMs for making payment. Milk and Vegetable vendors and even small grocers have started accepting online payments.
From Cashless to Paperless
Days are not far off when our country would go cashless transaction and paperless work. What is needed is to implement this policy.
A determined leadership with firm conviction which our Prime Minister has is taking the nation forward. By the year 2024-2025, all citizens of the country would have smart phones. Those opposed to cashless transactions say that countries like Sweden, Canada and Britain have small population base with cent percent literacy, hence cashless transactions.
In the meantime Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons has praised the government decision on demonitsation. Even Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries has supported the move. Some people are hell bent upon criticising and opposing the government decision in social media. But it is not going to impact the nation.
A Roof Under Your Head
There is strong possibility of providing a roof under head of all the citizens of the country. A property research company JLL has said that in next six months price of property would come down by 25-30 per cent that will make housing sector affordable for common man.
The demonitisation will also increase the base of income tax payers which stands at approximately 1.25 crore now, just one percent of our total population who pay income tax. There are multiple gains of demonitisation that is going to put our country on sound economic track.
(The Writer is a Member of Rajya Sabha)