Cashless is costly, a village discovers
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?”