The MP finance department has appealed to all government branches in the state to go cashless in light of the Centre’s decision to demonetise the ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes. However, this has put many teachers in the state on the back foot — Madhya Pradesh government schools have saving accounts in banks with no debit cards, and all transactions are based on cash.
Every primary and middle school gets a monthly grant of ₹15,000-₹17,000 for petty expenses and higher secondary schools get ₹2000 more. However a school can only withdraw ₹1000 a day from the account.
“If we withdraw more than ₹1000, we face the objection of auditors. But post-demonetisation, it has become very difficult for us to stand in long queues at the bank and withdraw ₹1000 everyday,” said Sushma Komare, a teacher in Rasheediya school. “We are compelled to dip into our own pockets for petty expenses of the school.”
Teachers also feel that they waste precious classroom time to withdraw cash. “We don’t know whether to teach or stand in line to keep the operation of the school on. We do not have enough staff to do this,” P Kathot, a teacher at government middle school, Barkhedi, said.
Teachers also say that temporary staff are not account holders, hence cash transactions are a necessity. “The maids, the janitor — these people should also be given some facilities. They do not have accounts, and we cannot transfer money to them. We are compelled to pay them in cash,” said Rajeev Dixit from government middle school Habibiya.
Madhya Pradesh Shikshak Congress secretary Ashutosh Pandey said the government should have equipped its own departments for cashless transactions before promoting the concept.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to popularise cashless transactions. Why didn’t he make sure that appropriate arrangements were made in government departments first? Now they are asking officers and recruiting people to teach digital payment methods — when will it be implemented?” Pandey said.