The state government plans to rope in traders, bankers and farmers to promote digital payments in rural areas, to reduce dependency on cash transactions.
The government wants its common service centres spread across the state to be utilised to promote digital payments of services using debit cards and point-of-sale devices. The government also plans to request traders to insist on digital payments.
Chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, who will discuss the plan with all district collectors and divisional commissioners on Monday, said, “We have a huge network of common service centres, which will be scaled up to 30,000 in the near future. The government plans to upgrade the digital infrastructure at these centres to facilitate cashless payments for government services in rural areas,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, chief secretary of Maharashtra. “The district administration will rope in traders’ organisations to get more point-of-sale devices to promote cashless transactions. Banking institutions and district-level banking committees will also be roped in to make various modes of online payments available.”
Kshatriya said the sales tax department collects payments online. Some district collectors, too, have started to collect property tax online. The endeavour would be to introduce the scheme across the state.
During a recent review, the government realised 75 % of its transactions and payments including salaries are done online. The new initiative aims at increasing the percentage.
Another official said the government has decided its departments and agencies to develop various apps. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd has launched an app for payment of electricity bills and other utilities too will be encouraged for such initiative, the official said.
The government plans to train its employees and stakeholders. “Most transactions related to farm products including procurement of milk, sugarcane and soyabean are done through cash. A majority of the times, farmers opt for receipt-less procurement to get a better rate for the produce. Digital payments will help bring agricultural transactions in the banking net and curb the ill practices in procurement,” the official said.