As the Modi sarkar strives for making cashless India in order to weed out black money from the economy, the people particularly from the rural and remote pockets of India are reluctant to move ahead with the digital transaction. However few are still going strong and making the difference. In a similar such example, residents of Mahalgaon village in Kamptee taluka have ushered in digital revolution by making optimum use of technology at their disposal. In the process, Mahalgaon has become the first cashless village of Vidarbha.
A team of journalists found visible changes in this sleepy village as a resident paid for a can of talcum powder from his mobile phone. A point of sale (PoS) machine is used at the gram panchayat office for tax collection.
In fact, around 2,500 inhabitants of Mahalgaon are able to do all this for the first time since their village became cashless and digital. This is the result of ‘Sashakt Gaon Samriddh Bharat’, an initiative of ICICI Bank.
Managing director and chief executive officer of the bank Chanda Kochhar said, “We have created a less cash eco-system in various villages, provided vocational training to over 11,300 persons, including 7,500 women, and offered them credit linkages. This project will contribute significantly to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’.
“Around 500 villages will be transformed by December,” she further said.
Village sarpanch Deepali Chanekar said, “The locals, especially women, will benefit from the new infrastructure. Many women have taken loans for sewing machines and begun making clothing items and selling those.”
According to the bank officials, 1,800 out of 1,900 voting population of the village has bank accounts along with RuPay debit cards. Even though there is no ATM as yet, three local youths have been employed by the bank who are equipped with PoS machines so that people can deposit and withdraw cash up to Rs 2,000.
The ICICI Foundation has also trained employable population of Mahalgaon for different skills like sewing (for women) and agriculture. Kalpana Charde and other women of the village were trained to make clothing articles.
She said, “I completed my training in February and have started making blouses (for women). I can now make two to three items per day and earn Rs 2,000 per month on an average. In a matter of few months, I will expand the business and start taking orders from the city.”
Dnyaneshwar Roshankhede recently set up a small scale bio-gas plant, 2km away from the village, by taking business loan. Currently, he uses whatever biogas is produced for cooking and other activities.
He said, “Very soon, I will expand and increase production of the gas and start selling it. It will be distributed in cylinders similar to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).”