The Million Dollar Question – With all these efforts, will India go Cashless?

Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi & the demonetization of currency is a hot topic – whether it’s about Black Money, Corruption, Fake Notes, Terror Financing, benami (without a name) transactions or any other concern. But, in the meantime, Digital Wallets & Online Payments turned out to be the real winners with this decision. While the entire nation was figuring out what to do next, e-wallet companies were ecstatic.

I’m sure all of us were hunting ATMs at 2 am in the night for the next 3-4 days hoping we would find Rs.100 notes. Believe me; the struggle was real. I still get so many text notifications every day asking me to go digital. Well, I’m too lazy to go & stand in long queues, so there’s no way out except Paytming. Moreover, with Cashback & other Offers, it just gets exciting!

On a serious note, all thanks to e-wallet companies like PayTm, Freecharge and MobiKwik for making lives easier for those who haven’t used them. It’s an enormous open door for these businesses, and they have seen a substantial rise in the number of users and transactions post Modi’s announcement on 8th November 2016.

One of the tweets right after Modi’s speech:

Next Morning, the front page of newspapers showcased:

According to Business Standard, a senior executive at the company said: “Led by unprecedented growth in offline payments, Paytm has touched a record 5 million transactions a day and is on the way to process over Rs 24,000 crore. The company registered a 435 percent increase in overall traffic and 1,000 percent growth of money added to the Paytm account over the past couple of days.”

Paytm has recently come up with easy steps for small owners to accept Paytm at their shops. The company had received over 50,000 queries from small & big shopkeepers to help them during this time of cash crunch. Just two simple steps and it’s done! All you need is a mobile number & the Paytm App.

This is already being followed by roadside PaniPuriwala’s, Chaiwala’s, Paanwala’s and likewise other vendors are also slowly doing this.

Mobile wallet firm MobiKwik claimed that it had registered a 7000% increase in bank transfers since it allowed users to transfer money instantly to any bank account at 0% fee in the wake of demonetization drive.

For FreeCharge, looking at last month’s data for the same period, compared to the last week, the number of first-time users went up by 1388 percent.

Keeping E-Wallets aside for a moment, even Bill Gates applauded PM Modi’s demonetisation strategy. He predicts that in the years to come, India has great potential to become the most digitised economy in the world, not just by numbers but also by percentage and proportion.

For the broadly spread Rural India, a radical change to e-wallets appear unrealistic and will require relentless efforts by these Fintech companies. However, I can say that individuals who have been under the feeling that real currency will stay predominant till time everlasting should change their perspective or else would need to hold up under misfortunes. India will now move towards the time of digital payments, and soon the currency of high denominations will be supplanted by digital currency. This change might take some time to happen; however, without a doubt, it has begun!

Sumiran Rathi

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