Now, Shop For Vegetables Using You Mobile Phone

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Many have started paying for their vegetables using e-wallets on their smartphones.

New Delhi:  28-year-old Avneesh Singh has just started paying for his vegetables using his smartphone. His vegetable seller, Yameen, is one of the few vendors in South Delhi's Lajpat Nagar who has recently started accepting e-wallets.

"In one day there are about 25-30 customers who use Paytm (the e-wallet he uses). If one starts using Paytm then there will be no difficulty especially for getting small change", says Yameen who installed Paytm on his smartphone on December 1, in the heat of the cash crunch.

Avneesh too is a first-time user of the app, he concedes. "Earlier we would only use cards. Now we are also using these (e-wallets); it feels good."

According to data from the Reserve Bank of India, over one million e-wallet users are being added every day since the cash ban, an indication of their seemingly growing popularity for making cashless transactions. Mobile wallet transactions are further estimated to leapfrog from Rs 5,500 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 30,000 crore in 2022.

However, the picture isn't all rosy. Despite the surge in mobile telephony in India, smartphone users continue to account for only around 25 per cent of total mobile users. In the case of e-wallets there is also a limit to the amount that can be sent/received over a month.

"The limit on my app is 20,000," says Harish, another vegetable vendor in Lajpat Nagar. "I think I will exhaust my overall cashless limit in a few days. One will have to revert to cash after that," he says. "Does this (the overall limit of 20000 on e-wallets) mean I will have to get multiple SIM cards? To download multiple apps?" asks Siraj, a vegetable seller in Sarojini Nagar market. Due to confusions like these, he says, sellers in the area have been skeptical of getting e-wallets. Among those who have downloaded e-wallet apps, there is also a gradual realisation that doing away with cash entirely is not going to be the case, at least in the near future.

In Sarojini Nagar, 27-year-old Shivani who had come to buy fruits said she had an e-wallet but had put it aside for now. "We support the cash-clean up but we can't do away with cash. Just today, I tried using Paytm to pay for my fruits and there was no proper data connection so the transaction failed. Obviously, I have to roam around with cash in my pocket all the time. It is a contingency," she said.

"It's going to take a long time; questions of privacy, data theft also cannot be ruled out completely," said Manoj Kumar, another customer in the market.

Like Paytm, there are over 40 e-wallets for customers to choose from and download on their smartphones. The limits on the apps vary from Rs 10,000 to 20,000 making them an ideal alternative to ATMs especially in the times of a cash crunch. However, there are still several issues that need to be confronted before India goes completely cashless.

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