In October this year — just days before demonetisation of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 — Delhi University’s Lakshmibai College introduced smart Identity Cards for students. These cards have RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips in them, enabling them to be used as plastic money within the college premises. Who would’ve thought that the revamped I-Cards would become students’ prized possessions? The cards are a hit in the college, following a cash crunch situation in the country, owing to the withdrawing limits in banks and ATMs. Students can swipe the card to pay for everything from photocopies and canteen bills to library fines and even college fees.
“We wanted to increase the utitlity of the card, and thought why not make it usable for payments within the campus, so we added the cashless payment option to it. We’re the first college in all of DU to have introduced such a move,” says Principal Pratyush Vatsala. “Students can recharge the balance through the Bank of India branch in the college campus. Even those who don’t have an account with the bank, can recharge using cash at the bank.”
Students couldn’t be happier. “It’s a boon for us that the introduction of the new ID cards coincided with the demonetisation move. Not only have we now gone cashless inside the campus, we can also make use of the old notes as the bank branch in our college is accepting it,” says Aakanksha Garg, a first-year Political Science student.
The cards have been colour coded to signify the students’ year. The first year students have purple-and-white cards, the second year students have blue-and-white cards, and the third year students have maroon-and-white cards. Those who hold positions in college societies have Tricolour bands on the cards.
Students can recharge the balance through the Bank of India branch that is inside the college. Even those who don’t have an account with the bank, can recharge using money
Not just demonetisation, the move has drawn appreciation from students for other reasons too. “We don’t have to worry about travelling with money anymore, as there is always a concern regarding theft in public transport. And then, these are safer than the debit or credit cards because the recharge amount is in our hands,” says Kriti Thakur, a second year Political Science student. “Also, since the photocopy bhaiya or the canteen people don’t have card or e-wallet payment options, having enough change was always a problem. Now that’s gone too, thankfully!”
Seeing that it’s a win-win situation for college authorities as well as students, other DU colleges are also contemplating a shift to smart I-Cards. “We were considering going cashless within the campus, these cards are definitely on our mind now,” says Dr Rama, principal, Hans Raj College. “We’re even thinking of including medical history of the students on the chip.”
Other DU-ites are also hopeful. “We heard about the smart ID cards of Lakshmibai students, and we think it is a supercool idea. I hope our college and others, too, go for it,” says Mayank Garg, a student of SGND Khalsa college.