Is Madhya Pradesh's First Digital Village Prepared To Go Cashless?

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Badjhiri village now have brand new ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) machines in nearly a dozen shops.


Badjhiri, Bhopal:  It has been over a month since the notes ban came into effect and the centre is encouraging people across the country to do cashless transactions. In a bid to promote cashless economy, especially in rural India, the Madhya Pradesh Government along with a public sector bank has made a village digital to facilitate cashless transactions.

20 kilometres from Bhopal, at Badjhiri village, brand new ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) machines have been set up in nearly a dozen shops. For 35-year-old Sanju Verma, who has been running a mobile and agro product shop for a decade now, the POS machine has given his business some respite from demonetisation.

"POS machine at my shop contributes to about 15-20 per cent of my business otherwise overall business is down for about two months as people have no cash," says Mr Verma.

Badjhiri village has about 400 families and the young generation has welcomed the move to go cashless. The older generation, however, remains unsure.

"The benefit is if we want to buy something we don't have to go to bank to withdraw money and buy it with card," says a villager Grijesh Meena.

Ramesh Prasad Tilak, a retired CRPF jawan, says, "Using card is not beneficial as many in the village are illiterate. Suppose I need to withdraw 50,00 and I type the wrong amount then I will face problems."

Shyam Sharma, the sarpanch of the village, says, "All villagers now have bank account, of the 20 shops most have got POS machines. People are reluctant but once they start using it they will be more confident."

Madhya Pradesh Government has declared Badhjiro as its first digital village but still over half of the shops here are yet to receive their POS machines and many of the villagers who have little or no education are still reluctant to use plastic money. Perhaps it will take some more days for this village to become a digital village in true sense.


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