Cash­less is costly, a vil­lage dis­cov­ers

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Srini­vasa Rao Ap­pa­rasu srini­vasa.ap­pa­

In the tu­mul­tuous weeks that fol­lowed the Novem­ber 8 de­mon­eti­sa­tion, this sleepy vil­lage in Te­lan­gana’s Sid­dipet district hit the head­lines as south In­dia’s first cash­less vil­lage.

The 1,200-odd lo­cal res­i­dents re­fused to ac­cept cash even for auto fares or snacks, and jour­nal­ists greed­ily lapped it up and pre­sented it to the na­tion strug­gling to come to terms with a sud­den ab­sence of hard cur­rency.

Al­most a year on, the eu­pho­ria is all but dead. Those same vil­lagers ex­tolled as the bea­cons of a cash­less so­ci­ety, have sheep­ishly re­turned to the folds of the cur­rency note, beaten back by the trans­ac­tion charges levied by banks that they say makes turn­ing cash­less again un­likely.

“All of us re­turned our swip­ing ma­chines to the bank as the au­thor­i­ties are col­lect­ing a ren­tal charge of ₹1,400 per month, ir­re­spec­tive of the vol­ume of busi­ness we did. Even if we did not use the ma­chine, we were forced to pay the amount,” says Areti Praveen. “In a span of six months, I had to in­cur a loss of ₹10,000 just for us­ing the ma­chine. What is the use of cash­less trans­ac­tion then?”


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