The Centre’s move to scrap Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes more than two weeks ago has given the cashless economy a sudden boost, with many across India moving even daily purchases online.
On Wednesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked all district administrations to prepare a road map to make smooth transition to a cashless economy — this includes training and awareness programmes for government employees and citizens, and a monitoring mechanism at banks.
The move comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch for a cashless society, saying it would help the poor, and pushed for electronic transactions to end black money. Labourers were not paid their wages in full, Modi said. They signed on a different amount but receive a lesser sum. “When your wages are deposited in your bank accounts, this exploitation will end,” Modi had said. The government and Opposition are locked in a fierce battle amid a cash crunch as the banned notes accounted for 86% of the money in circulation in a cash-driven economy.
During the video-conference review meeting with district collectors and chief executive officers of district councils, Fadnavis was also told of how the cash crunch is severely affected the rural economy. The collectors told the CM banks have only 20% of cash stock required and this is causing a problem for farmers who want to buy seeds for the Rabi sowing season. Many farmers also reported issues in getting paid for the sugarcane they gave to factories, the CM was told.
The collectors also requested the government to arrange for more cash in the district central banks.
For relief, Fadnavis has asked the collectors and CEOs to hold meetings with banks and seed merchants to maximise the use of online services such as Rupay and debit and credit cards payment modes. He has also directed them to get NGOs and students from local colleges involved in popularising cashless transactions.
During the review meet, the CM said he was not happy with the poor implementation of his pet programmes — open defecation-free villages, farm land on demand and housing for poor in rural areas. Fadnavis said CEOs with poor implementation records will not be considered for promotion. The government has announced to make the state free of open defecation by 2018, by constructing 37 lakh toilets.