The government’s push for cashless mode of transactions, brought about by scrapping of high denomination currency notes, is a big step too soon for people who have been largely dependent on paper currency.
While employees of the information technology (IT) sector and corporate executives are used to the cashless economy, traders, real estate brokers, and people in the unorganised sector have been pushed to the back foot after 86% of currency in circulation was taken out by the Prime Minister’s announcement on November 8.
Those who have been comfortable using cash for their daily business are now being forced to shift to digital modes of payment as paper currency is now a luxury. Also, the cash crunch has forced the rural economy move a step forward and enter the cashless mode despite hiccups.
“There is a lot of reluctance among daily wage earners and construction workers to open bank accounts. Many are not registered with authorities. They want their daily wages, not cheques,” Rajender Saroha, a trade union leader, said.
However, the positive is that several industries are finding workers ready to be paid through banking instruments and are ready to adapt to the new challenges of the cashless economy.
“We have opened almost 2,500 accounts in the last one week and the response is good,” Suman Chawla, general secretary, Manesar Industries Welfare Association, said. Apart from the organised sectors, auto dealers, mechanics, pan shop owners, and even tea vendors have been forced to use e-wallet facility, Paytm, and similar mechanisms.
Government departments, allied service providers and even the traffic police have ordered card swipe machines as the Centre and state have issued directives to go digital, but challenges remain.
On Friday, the Haryana government entered a tie-up with the SBI, which will provide Point of Sale (POS) machine facility free of charge to the state government and its departments across the state. The transactions settled through POS terminals would be credited by the SBI to the respective department’s Drawing and Disbursing Officers’ (DDOs) bank accounts.