NPCI transforms the Panchayat into ‘less cash’ and all digital
A small and remote Panchayat in Boden block of Nuapada district called Karangamal became the first Panchayat to go digital and a less-cash or cash-lite geography in the state.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India, has adopted the Panchayat in 2015 to make it financially literate and financially included into the Prime Minister’s dream project ‘Digital India’.
The Panchayat comprises of five villages and the Karangamal village, which is the largest one has almost 1,200 adult population.
NPCI, supported by MicroSave took up the project with State Bank of India and Utkal Grameen Bank in transforming the villagers’ traditional practices of cash transaction into digital transaction for every purpose.
The nearest banking facility was available earlier was almost 15 Km away and a small chunk of population had their bank accounts there. Now all 1,200 adults of the village Karangamal have their own bank accounts under Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojana with RuPay Cards and the State Bank of India has installed one ATM facility there inside the village.
About 3,800 RuPay cards were issued in the whole Panchayat covering all adult members having their Jan Dhan bank accounts opened.
“A year-long campaign was initiated to spread digital awareness in the Panchayat. NPCI’s initiatives boosted the digital payments ecosystem through various modes and channels of payments such as USSD based *99#, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), RuPay card and Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AePS). NPCI has partnered with MicroSave, an international consulting firm for digital financial inclusion to design the program of transforming villages” says Abhaya Prasad Hota, Managing Director & CEO, NPCI in an conversation with OdishaLIVE.
“India is currently witnessing a Digital Revolution. We would like to study the adoption level at villages vis-à-vis towns and cities. This is also an experiment as to whether it is possible to shift the payment behaviour by a focused campaign in a rural pocket” he adds.
Right now, six kirana shops in the village are using POS machines supported by State Bank of India and villagers are feeling happy to transact for their daily groceries, other items through swapping their RuPay cards.
People are using digital mode of transferring money and the local businessmen are enjoying the easiest and cheapest means of transactions by using BHIM, IMPS etc. and even *99# who are using feature phones.
There has been 100 per cent financial inclusion now in that Panchayat. NPCI is taking up steps for use of RuPay card by the villagers though training and education, Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals were set up at kirana stores and NPCI has partnered with State Bank of India to convert the Panchayat into a Digital Panchayat.
As Karangamal became the example before the state and the country even, now under the guidance of RBI, banks are assigned to adopt number of Panchayats in their respective Branch catchment areas to transform those into fully digitized and financially literate.