Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, at the recent Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru, claimed that by 2020 India will wave goodbye to debit cards, credit cards and even point-of-sale (POS) machines. He said that every Indian will be able to carry out a transaction using their thumb print. While all this sounds very futuristic and progressive, it remains to be seen whether it’s actually a dream that can see the light of day. The demonetisation programme may give the government a boost, and has seen a lot of money come back into banks, thus strengthening the financial capabilities of the nation. But in rural areas, people are still suffering from the after-effects of this move, one that hasn’t yet been completed. To tell people who don’t even have bank accounts, or do not earn enough that they will not be able to deal with cash but instead have to conduct virtual transactions will scare them. All virtual transactions come at a cost. The government is not going to forego all levies on these transactions, a fact that was proven when it introduced charges on debit and credit transactions.
If such a cashless economy was possible, wouldn’t one first world and technologically advanced country have attempted it by now? There’s your answer.