Jharkhand government on Tuesday declared four panchayats-- two each in East Singhbhum and Bokaro districts-- cashless-enabled.
They were picked for the ‘cashless mission’ on the basis of the bank account penetration and mobile accessibility there.
Chief minister Raghubar Das announced an incentive of Rs 1 lakh each for the panchayats for achieving the feat.
“Residents of these panchayats have played an important role in building a cashless society,” Das said, adding, their initiative would help fight the black-money menace.
He said that micro ATMs would be installed in all panchayat secretariats of the state to benefit villagers.
Raghubar Das government on December 2 had launched a “Cashless Jharkhand” programme to make transactions completely digital in the state’s 29 blocks spread across 24 districts by December 28.
The programme was launched after Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a BJP parliamentary meet on November 29 urged all to support his endeavour to make India a digital economy and a cashless society.
Modi on November 8 announced his government’s decision to demonetise 500 and 1000-rupee notes in a bid to weed out black money.
Das had then announced to reward the district which would achieve the feat first.
Bokaro district’s Dugdha West and Dugdha South panchayats under Chandrapura block were declared “cashless” as most residents and traders there have adopted cashless mode of transactions.
Even roadside barbershops and vegetable vendors in these panchayat areas have turned to digital mode of transactions, Bokaro deputy commissioner Rai Mahimapat Ray told Hindustan Times.
“All permanent shops in the two panchayats are either accepting debit and credit cards or using PayTM and buddy apps for transaction,” he said.
Dugdha west has 695 households while the Dugdha east has 660. The DC said each household has at least one bank account. The two panchayats have 168 small and big shops, of which 106 are using point-of-sale machines and rest are using PayTM or buddy apps.
The Bokaro DC claimed that a team of Vinoba Bhave University (VBU) Hazaribag recently surveyed the two panchayats and found most people are using cashless mode of payment.
He said other panchayats of the block will soon be made cashless.
Similarly, altogether 1871 households of Kashida panchayat and 1742 households of Dharambahal panchayats have been trained in cashless mode of transactions.
East Singhbhum assistant collector Ananya Mittal said all residents hold bank accounts and either debit or RuPay card.
“Since most residents in these rural areas do not have smart phones, they have been trained in USSB mode of transaction through feature phones. Through USSB mode, one could make transaction ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 5,000 at a time,” Mittal said, adding, most villagers have started cashless mode of payment.
There are 24 point-of-sale machines at shops in these two panchyats and 1255 people, including traders, are using different Apps for transactions.
Officials said that being cashless-enabled did not mean that there would be no use of cash in these panchayats. “Our objective is to encourage people to go for more cashless transactions so that use of cash can be restricted. This will help discourage black money,” said an official of the CM secretariat, who did not want to be named.