Twenty-two-year-old Bhalaram Dudi uses Paytm, an online payment app, on his mobile phone to pay for his haircut. The barber, Prabhu Lal, also uses the app for buying his stuff from Matwal General Store.
In a remote desert village in north Rajasthan, cashless transactions are quite a revolution. Sardarpura Khalsa, a village of 600 houses, people flaunt that they are ‘digital and cashless’ with posters pasted outside their houses; women peep through their veils to scan bar codes of shops on their mobile phones to make payments.
The village, 290 km from Bikaner, in Rawatsar block of Hanumangarh district has gone cashless with all 28 shops accepting digital payments.
The Rajasthan government’s department of information and technology (DoIT) adopted the village in January to train people in digital technology. People were trained for using BHIM and Paytm apps, and the *99# facility for those who don’t have smartphones.
Four months down the line, Sardarpura Khalsa is neighbours’ envy.
Ashish Sihag, nodal officer of DoIT e-governance cell, said volunteers first motivated people to link their bank accounts with Aadhaar and mobile numbers, and then told them about cashless transactions.
“Some of them also use the UPI facility of the bank for transactions,” Sihag added.
“When we had cash in hand, we often spent irrationally,” said Balram Chapola, a villager. “Now I use my mobile phone for payments all shops in the village and end up saving some money.”
The IT department provided plastic banners to all the shops to be hanged outside with their codes that will be used by villagers for digital transactions.
The village has internet connectivity provided by private service providers, and there’s RAJNET, the government facility, at Atal Sewa Kendra.
Even vegetable vendors have swipe machines for cashless transactions, said Sihag.
“Sardarpura Khalsa is emerging as the pivot of digital revolution in Rajasthan,” said Yogendra Kumar, DoIT deputy director.