When things go cash­less at GNFC town­ship in Gu­jarat

In­dia’s first cash­less town­ship con­ducts all trans­ac­tions dig­i­tally

Governance Now - - FRONT PAGE - Ishita Mishra

Bindu Ben, 41, is a famer by pro­fes­sion. she runs a gro­cery store in the Gu­jarat Nar­mada Fer­til­izer Cor­po­ra­tion (GNFC) town­ship in Bharuch dis­trict and trans­acts only through Paytm – an elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vice. she is fa­mous in her vil­lage, which is 10 km away from the town­ship, for pro­mot­ing dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions and teach­ing peo­ple on how to go cash­less.

even in the GNFC town­ship, when peo­ple face any prob­lems while mak­ing a dig­i­tal trans­ac­tion, Bindu Ben comes to their res­cue. so when Anand Ku­mar from Ahmed­abad vis­ited his rel­a­tive’s place at the town­ship and got stuck while trans­fer­ring money through e-wal­let for the choco­lates he pur­chased, the shop­keeper im­me­di­ately called Bindu Ben to fix the is­sue.

Ku­mar was sur­prised by the quick re­sponse of the vil­lage woman who has stud­ied till the eighth class. oth­ers in the shop were amazed too. But Bindu Ben is quite ac­cus­tomed to elic­it­ing such re­ac­tions.

“Batwa nai lena padta hai. Koi nuk­san nai hota hai. Dukan­dar aapke chhutte nai rakh pata hai, ya 1-2-5 ru­paye ke ba­dle tof­fee nahi pak­data hai. Or sara dhandha ek num­ber ka re­hta hai (You need not carry a wal­let. There is no loss. The shop­keeper is not able to keep the change. He won’t be able to pass you tof­fees for ₹1, 2 or 5. The whole trans­ac­tion is done in white money),” says Bindu Ben, list­ing out ben­e­fits of go­ing cash­less.

she is not an ex­cep­tion, even a five-year-old kid in the GNFC town­ship knows how to make elec­tronic pay­ments. As a re­sult, GNFC has been dubbed as In­dia’s first in­te­grated town­ship where 100 per­cent trans­ac­tions are done through cash­less modes. Be it a paan or a pen­cil, laun­dry or cy­cle re­pair, school fees or jew­ellery, all sales and pur­chases are done dig­i­tally through Pos (point of sale) ma­chines and e-wal­let apps like Bhim, Paytm and upi.

The town­ship has a pop­u­la­tion of some 5,000 and wit­nesses around 10,000 vis­i­tors reg­u­larly. Fa­cil­i­ties like shopping cen­tres, restau­rants, hos­pi­tals and schools are avail­able within the cam­pus.

Ef­forts to make the town­ship a cash­less place started soon af­ter Pm Naren­dra modi an­nounced de­mon­eti­sa­tion of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes on Novem­ber 8, 2016. “Peo­ple at the town­ship faced sim­i­lar hard­ships as oth­ers af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion; there was no money, nei­ther in hands nor in the only ATM

in the cam­pus. But we de­cided not to make a hue and cry about the govern­ment’s ini­tia­tive and make most of it,” says rs Joshi, se­nior man­ager, GNFC.

Ap­plaud­ing the ef­forts of Bindu Ben, he says, “if a class 8 pass woman from a vil­lage can learn to make dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions, why can’t we?”

The ini­tia­tive to make the town­ship cash­less has been so suc­cess­ful that Niti Aayog has rec­om­mended its repli­ca­tion in other parts of the coun­try. The Gu­jarat govern­ment too has de­cided to adopt the GNFC cash­less model in 180 town­ships across the state, out of which 35 are lo­cated in Bharuch dis­trict. The project has been in ef­fect since march 2017.

on April 14, 2017, modi launched from Nag­pur the less-cash town­ship model, de­vel­oped by the GNFC, across 81 town­ships in 12 states. out of 81 town­ships, 56 are in Gu­jarat, whereas 25 in other 11 states in­clud­ing ut­tar Pradesh, ma­ha­rash­tra, Delhi, Ch­hat­tis­garh and Bi­har. These 81 town­ships are of cen­tral pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prises such as ONGC, ioc, NTPC, sail, NMDC and Bhel, of the cen­tral govern­ment en­ti­ties such as CRPF and BSF, and of pri­vate sec­tor town­ships like re­liance, es­sar, Adani group, Aditya Birla group and Wel­spun.

ra­jiv Ku­mar Gupta, md, GNFC, says that this has been achieved through sus­tained mass cam­paign and en­gage­ment of all stake­hold­ers in the train­ing of dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions. The GNFC man­age­ment has also es­tab­lished the re­quired in­fra­struc­ture and nec­es­sary busi­ness process en­gi­neer­ing for this pur­pose.

“even the trucks car­ry­ing raw ma­te­ri­als and fin­ished prod­ucts like fer­tilis­ers and chem­i­cals to and fro from a par­tic­u­lar com­pany have been man­dated to use debit cards for the pay­ment of toll tax. Around 500 ve­hi­cles which go in and out of the GNFC plant re­main cash­less on na­tional and state high­ways for toll pur­poses. in a year, 1.8 lakh trips by trucks and other ve­hi­cles were car­ried out by us­ing cash­less trans­ac­tions, which was a record,” rs Joshi of GNFC says.

GNFC, a state PSU, is also the first fer­tiliser com­pany in the coun­try to go cash­less. Through more than 2,000 re­tail out­lets, GNFC has so far sold 18.10 lakh bags of fer­tilis­ers to 1.55 lakh farm­ers through cash­less trans­ac­tions across the coun­try.

As per a PWC study of GNFC’S cash­less ini­tia­tives for over 96 per­cent of farm­ers, cash­less trans­ac­tions re­sulted in cost sav­ings aris­ing from fewer trips to fer­tiliser shops and dis­counts on cash­less trans­ac­tions. elec­tronic trans­ac­tions re­sulted in bet­ter money man­age­ment for over 90 per­cent farm­ers. it fur­ther re­vealed that 92.3 per­cent of house­holds be­lieved there was a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the use of cash re­sult­ing in more con­ve­nience when trans­act­ing for daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

It has not only ben­e­fit­ted GNFC and its em­ploy­ees but go­ing cash­less has be­come an ef­fec­tive tool for par­ents to have a bet­ter con­trol over their chil­dren’s ex­penses. Around 98 per­cent of the house­holds say they saved time on cash­less trans­ac­tions.

Anita, mother of 11-year-old shikhar, ex­plains how she uses a spe­cial card avail­able at the GNFC to con­trol her son’s un­nec­es­sary ex­penses. “ini­tially, i was wor­ried to share the pass­word of my ATM with my son as he might mis­use it. Giv­ing him a phone to use the e-wal­let was also not ap­pro­pri­ate at his age. Then i came to know about the spe­cial card in­tro­duced by GNFC of­fi­cials in which we can trans­fer cash as we do in Paytm. Now i trans­fer only ₹25 if i send my kid to buy half litre milk. He can’t mis­use it and even if the card is lost, i am los­ing only ₹25,” says Anita.

even the tem­ples at the GNFC town­ship don’t ac­cept cash. ma­hesh Joshi has com­pleted his ma in san­skrit and works as a pu­jari at the tem­ple of the town­ship. Flow­ers and prasad at the tem­ple can be pur­chased only through cash­less modes.

show­ing the mo­bile wal­let of lord Kr­ishna at his tem­ple in which devo­tees do­nate money, he says, “look, mr Joshi has do­nated ₹101 today evening. Gup­taji do­nated ₹500 last week. Things are so trans­par­ent here... The way God must be want­ing!”

From tem­ple to paan and from bar­ber to dryclean­ing, ev­ery­thing is cash­less in GNFC town­ship

Bindu Ben trans­acts only elec­tron­i­cally

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