Mumbai: A village named Dhasai located around 100 km from Mumbai is using cash after becoming the first cashless village in the country post demonetisation. Villagers of Dhasai used net banking and online apps to do the transactions. Even Vada pavs were bought using cashless transaction.
However, the cash is back and PoS machines now remain unused. The villagers are not able to swipe their cards as they don’t know how to use them. There are many members in a family but with only one card in their hands, other members have to keep cash with them for daily chores.
Those who open new accounts, get their debit cards immediately but those who apply later, get their turn after fifteen days.
The village had embraced ‘cashless economy’ on December 1 after a month of demonetization. Dhasai is spread over around 2,700 acres, and is home to a population of around 5,000 – a mix of traders and farmers. The village serves as the central market, healthcare centre and banking centre for at least 27 nearby villages, quotes The Indian Express.
“Hardly anybody uses an ATM card to pay. Often, the machine fails to connect to the server so it’s a hassle,” said a villager.
A woman who came to Dhasai to buy a saree paid in cash, said: “I don’t know what cashless means. I have never used an ATM card.”
Swapnil Patkar, president of the traders’ association of Dhasai, said: “When a third of the population does not own ATM cards, despite having bank accounts, how can we go completely cashless?”
There are two banks in the village. “New account holders get ATM cards immediately and we issue cards to those who apply for one. It takes about 15 days to process the request,” said a bank’s branch manager, Ashok Warghade.
Moreover, there are misconceptions among villagers over the authenticity of card or cashless payments, said Patkar.
According to bank officials, around 30 percent of villagers are illiterate and can’t use cards. “I have a Jan Dhan account but I don’t know how to use an ATM card, let alone do mobile banking. My children and grandchildren use it sometimes,” said Gajanan Ghulap, a farmer in his 70s.