As many as 250 out of the 380 villages in Telangana state which were declared as ‘cashless transaction’ villages post-domonetisation have returned to cash transactions.
The initial enthusiasm for cashless transactions has faded within 10 months due to poor internet connectivity in semi-urban and rural areas.
The easy availability of cash in banks and ATMs has also prompted the people to return to cash transactions.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had directed officials in December 2016, to encourage cashless transactions in a big way and make Telangana state first in the country to become ‘cashless transactions state’.
He ordered awareness programmes to be for six months till June. The government even launched TS-Wallet, its own mobile application, to enable people to make cashless transactions without service charges.
These programmes were held till March, which resulted in about 380 villages going cashless where point of sale (PoS) machines were installed in all government offices, ration shops and other shops. The drive lost steam soon after.
In the 380 villages which had turned cashless, PoS devices are lying unused on account of poor connectivity.
“The PoS devices are encountering problems due to poor connectivity. The transactions could not be completed as they are blocked midway. We are facing problems with consumers. We are forced to return to cash transactions,” said Mr A. Muralidhar, secretary of State Small and Medium Retail Traders Association.
The finance department brought to the notice of government that unless IT infrastructure and connectivity issues are improved in all parts of the state on par with major cities and towns, it would not be possible to achieve the goal of ‘cashless transaction state’.
IT minister K.T. Rama Rao said connectivity issues would be addressed within a year with the launch of Mission Bhagiratha as internet lines are being laid to every village along with water pipelines to provide uninterrupted broadband services and pave way for seamless cashless transactions.