It was Akodara, a tiny village in Gujarat, which became India’s first digital village in 2015. Becoming digital was a huge advantage for this village, which reaped the benefits of a cashless economy. While the whole country is reeling under the aftermath of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the villagers of Akodara, who carry out their transactions on mobile banking almost on a daily basis, have no reason to complain.
Another village in Maharashtra, Dhasai, is following Akodara’s example. While Akodara uses mobile transactions, Dhasai uses card payments via Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machines. The village has installed as many as 40 card swiping machines, for cashless transactions.
Traders, vegetable & fruit vendors, doctors, barbers, and others provide goods and services in Dhasai by using swipe machines for all their cashless transactions. The initiative to make this Maharashtra village cashless was taken by Bank of Baroda in collaboration with NGO Veer Savarkar Pratishthan. All the residents have Jan Dhan Yojana accounts and hold RuPay ATM cards. The NGO trained the villagers for the use of digital methods of transactions.
Bank of Baroda charges 0.75 per cent transaction charge on transactions that are lesser than Rs 2,000. The electronic money transfer has proved beneficial to around 400 traders who reside in Dhasai, making it the first village in the country to adapt to the new system.
Is the country taking a note of this revolutionary example set by rural India?