An Oscillating Moot: Can NIT-R Go Cashless?
On the 8th of November, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. The giant economic move was aimed at gagging black and counterfeit money accumulated on some rungs of the society due to illegal activities and corruption at large. It was also an initiative to transform India into a cashless society by reducing cash transactions and dashing out a surge in digital transactions through e-wallets and debit and credit cards. The sudden decision brought the banks and ATMs to a screeching halt and a huge population of India faced innumerable troubles.
Almost two and half months hence, as the burning embers have almost cooled off, and the nation has begun accepting PM Modi’s decision, Team MM went digging around the campus, gauging how far the seed of acceptance has sunk in within our retailers, and what the further plans are.
PRESENT MODE OF PAYMENT
VIEWS OF THE PROPRIETOR
Cash, Every Day Carry (EDC)/ Point of Sale (POS) Machine
“The effect of demonetization on my business was not that pronounced. I do not actually trust the data transfer systems and the security of mobile wallets but I am willing to try out the BHIM application.”
“Our business faced a setback because I had to give out few items to the students on a loan basis. Right now we are trying to install Paytm.”
“I would say we weren’t affected much by the process. Apart from certain instances where we had to exchange ₹2000 note for a ₹100 haircut, everything else was fine.”
Rangoli Student Store
“We faced problems during the initial days of demonetization as we had to loan out to students at times. I have discussed the issue with the authorities at the bank. Soon enough I will be employing EDCs and mobile wallet applications as well.”
Night canteen at H.B. Hall of Residence
“We have experienced a reduction in our sales. Students come with ₹2000 notes and I am unable to furnish change for that. So the students return without eating. We get many customers within certain time windows during night hours. So it becomes very difficult to oversee any form of cashless transaction during these rush hours. For a small business like a night canteen, I would definitely prefer cash over any other mode of payment.”
Snacks Joint outside H. B. Hall of Residence
“I do not approve of the government’s decision of withdrawing the ₹500 and ₹1000 out of circulation. Every day I have to deal with ₹2000 notes in an exchange of ₹100. I run the shop during the daytime and do my purchases during evening. Thus, I cannot really afford to be involved in any other modes of transaction other than cash. I am not really looking forward to go cashless right now.”
New Choice (Canteen near the Electrical Sciences building.)
“There definitely were some losses, which accounted up to 30-40% of the general sales. But, things got normal in a week or two. I believe it’s a good decision for the entire Indian public, including people of the rural areas. We believe that going cashless is better, both for you and for us and so, we are planning to set up a Paytm system soon.”
Cash, POS machines (all kinds of cards), Paytm.
“We faced losses of around 60-70% of the sales for a span of 8-10 days. About digitisation, I would say that we already had a system of accepting cards, long before the move was taken, but it wasn’t that preferable among students. Now, we have set up the Paytm system as well. I personally support a cashless NITR because we always give taxes and produce the bills to the government based on whatever our sales have been. We have nothing to hide from the officials, so I think the move is a good one.”
“I didn’t face any trouble because of demonetization.
We still accept cash, even though sometimes it becomes difficult to give away change for a 2000 – rupee note. If the institute provides us with a swipe machine, we might consider, but right now there are no plans. I would prefer transactions with cash over cashless because our sales are not that high ranged and being cashless would just mean more trouble with official processes.”
Tea-seller near the Library
“We didn’t incur any losses per se. Yet, I have started taking Paytm since one month now. Right now, people are paying more with cash, but I’m thinking of going cashless because then I won’t have to worry about refunding cash or giving change for bigger denominations.”
“Around 75% of the sales dropped for the first 10-15 days. Actually, the problem with us setting up swipe machines or Paytm here is that, during the peak hours, there is a crowd over here and it would make the operation very difficult and confusing. With cash, people can easily pay an amount of 10-20 INR. “
“My businesses stayed intact through it and I had no issues. There are no plans of me going cashless right now because I don’t have the proper knowledge regarding the systems. But, if I’m taught about these things, I would consider. However, I support Modiji in his decision.”
Day and Night Canteen of the KMS Hall of Residence
“We have coped up with the disastrous scenarios owing not to demonetization, but to a month long winter vacation. We are marginal businesswomen who deal with transactions within 100 INR. Thereby, we haven’t been affected as such by the non-circulation of high denominations notes. However, we agree on making India a cashless economy on grounds of a halted terrorism and corruption.”
Apollo Medicine Store
“Since we have a credit system with the Institute, we didn’t face any problem. But, even though we do own a POS machine, we can’t put it to use because there are a lot of network issues here and it would mean issues regarding connection.”
A very miniscule percent of our youth consist of the economic visionaries and most of us have a mob mindset. “Fickleness” has been a very characteristic of mob since the Shakespearean Era in his works of Roman plays such as Julius Ceaser and Antony and Cleopatra. However, gathering from the numerous responses, it appears as if the decision by the Indian Government has created a fairly unequal division of people in our immediate campus circle who have gained from it, and people who have lost; people who hail the move, and people who criticise. One common point that remains among the public is that, this has left them in a contemplative state, to weigh the pros and cons and eventually choose a method that is best suited for their purposes. If not anything, it has given everybody a reality check, a quite impactful one, to top it.
The prospect of NITR going completely cashless is an uncertain one and it will take quite some time before anything of substance can be reinstated. Yet, judging from the graph above, there is a greater share of the populace wishing to go cashless and thus, in order to facilitate awareness among its readers, Team MM delved into a few sources and dished out about a few methods that can be used as an alternate to transactions with cash.
Alternative Methods of Payment
POS or Point of Sale is a method of transaction where the total amount to be paid is calculated right after the transaction and is debited from the customer’s bank account. Customers with a valid bank account can draw out the required amount of money, by swiping their Debit/Credit cards on a POS terminal/PIN Pad.
This system is advantageous in that, it provides a detailed account of the transaction in a printed receipt format, which aids in keeping a record, both on the part of the customer and the proprietor. Also, all you need to carry for this kind of a transaction is your Debit/Credit card, which essentially makes it much simpler.
A lot of retailers and public/private organisations have rolled out the facility of using Electronic Wallets after the Demonetization move by the government. Customers need to have a working internet connection on their computers or phones with which, they can create accounts on these sites and load a certain amount of money from their bank accounts. This can then be used for transferring the money to a respective wallet by either scanning a QR Code or just using their phone numbers. The upper limit of the transaction amount is 20,000 INR, as of now. Some common E-Wallets include:
- Paytm: It is the currently the largest mobile wallet in India and can be used for everything, right from buying groceries to booking movie tickets.
- State Bank Buddy: It’s an online wallet available in 13 different languages. Non-SBI users can also transact using their Facebook accounts.
- Freecharge: This digital wallet gives an equal number of coupons for every recharge one makes, thereby helping people to save up when they’re paying online.
- MSwipe: With a machine that can be attached to a mobile phone to facilitate card payments, MSwipe is a completely one of a kind of digital payment.
Fig: A still from the tea-seller near the Library, showing off his initiative of going cashless.
The National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP), set up by the NPCI, provides users with or without an internet connection, an access to their bank accounts. It allows them to perform tasks like checking the account balance and transferring money to other accounts.
The NUUP system involves a simple process. The user dials *99# on the mobile phone to access the banking menu. The only requirement is that the user should have connected their phone number to their bank account (either online or at an ATM).On dialling *99# on the phone, the user has to enter either the first four digits of their bank’s IFSC code or the Short Code (A list of the three-letter short codes is available on the NPCI website), to choose a bank account associated with the phone number. The user can then proceed with their transaction.
Here’s a link to ease out the whole process.
Aadhar Enabled Payment System
The Government has launched the AEPS for making it easier for people from all over the country, barring economic inequalities, to go cashless. Here, people can link their Aadhar Card Unique Identification Number to their bank accounts and use it for transfer of funds, cash deposits and withdrawal.
PM Modi, in one of his speeches said:
“I see technology as a means to empower and as a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity.”
And if this is true, we still have a long way to go, changing the mindsets of still a considerable number of people here, being a partner to the country and going completely cashless.