Rajasthan’s first ‘cashless’ village returns to cash transactionsjaipur Updated: Nov 08, 2017 20:23 IST
Villagers prefer to use cash at a shop in Naya Gaon village in Rajasthan’s Ajmer.(HT Photo. )
The sleepy Naya Gaon village in Rajasthan’s Ajmer, about 40km from the district headquarters, made headlines in December 2016, when it was declared the first “cashless” village of the state.
A statement last year by the district administration, boasted about the cashless feat. The press release said “at least one member of each household has been trained in the use electronic payment system”.
A year after demonetisation, the village, with population 1,600 and 280 households, is struggling to live up to its reputation.
Most village residents have bank accounts and debit cards, but cash transactions, is still the norm.
Shops have got electronic point of sale (PoS) machines, but are not in use anymore, as villagers are fed up with the long time taken in each transaction, thanks to the poor Internet connectivity.
The village has four grocery shops and a fertilizer dealer. The Bank of Baroda provided the PoS machines to the shops.
Villagers have stopped using their debit cards altogether to buy grocery, says Ramesh Tak, a village shopkeeper.
“In the last three months, not a single transaction has been made through the PoS,” he says.
“I also give goods on credit and the PoS machines have not made any difference.”
Nanda Ram Gurjar, a villager says that villagers find dealing in cash or on credit, more convenient than the time consuming online payment.
Villagers, however, say that most of them do not own smart phones and their mobile phones are also not linked with their bank accounts.
On cashless transaction showing a downward trend in the village, Ajmer collector Gaurav Goyal says” “We are facing some teething problems but we are trying to sort them out.”
The push towards digitalization will continue, he says.
“Not just Naya Gaon, we are facilitating digital transactions in the entire district through the e-banking, common service centres of the e-Mitra network and cashless payments in government offices.”