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Cash Ki Charcha: How youth can support less-cash society

Cash Ki Charcha - a movement for each young Indian to reach out to 10 others to make them aware about technology enabling them to opt for digital methods to transact for their personal/business use instead of depending on physical currency.

November 28, 2016 / 06:13 PM IST

India's PM Narendra Modi made the biggest and most impassioned appeal to the youth in the country to become change agents in supporting India's move to a Less-Cash Society. In his monthly address, titled 'Mann Ki Baat' that is broadcast on state television and radio, he spent approximately 30 mins discussing the effects of demonetisation of high currency notes, the hardships people faced, feedback directly received from citizens and called out some notable ways people have overcome the lack of physical cash to innovate and support this cause for national good.

PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat- 27th November 2016

(You can watch the PM's address about a Less-Cash India, starting 7 mins till the end of the video)

Some Notable Highlights from the speech (1)

In his 2014 election campaign, PM Modi had crafted ‘Chai pe Charcha’ mini rallies in various parts of the country, discussion forums where he was broadcast live over TV, beaming full screen on street corners, where people normally gathered to take a breather over a cup of chai (tea) and of course discussed India's favourite past time- Politics (apart from cricket of course). This complimented his image as a tea seller aspiring to become PM of the country - someone who has risen from nowhere and with no political lineage to take on the ruling party. We know he won with a landslide to become India's PM in 2014 but today's battle cry to India's youth is nothing less in importance or scale as the one in 2014 to channelize troops in an all-out war against cash, black money and the various ills associated with it (terror funding being the primary one).

India is in the midst of a digital revolution. Some facts:

- India 2nd behind China in Number of Mobile Phone users

- India 2nd behind Indonesia in Mobile Phone User Growth

- Low End Smartphone availability will drive Adoption

- India will post the fastest tablet user gains worldwide

- In 2016, India will experience the fastest internet usage growth of any countries worldwide

The battle cry to a Less-Cash India is led by a leader- PM Modi who is one of the most social media savvy political leaders the world has ever known and is the Top 50 most followed people on Twitter. He has entrusted the cashless revolution in the good hands and on the able shoulders of India's Youth (65 percent of our population is less than 35 years old) thereby giving them a clear direction to steer the anti-corruption movement by eradication of black money. The wide scale support for demonetisation is leveraged to take this movement to the masses, educating and empowering them knowledge and information to make India's citizens less-cash dependent.

In an age where social activism is not only popular, but is largely successful whether its political campaigns, large scale volunteering efforts (Chennai Floods being the most recent example) or social movements like Anna Hazare's India Against Corruption Movement, one thing remains common across all - the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter) to share, discuss, disseminate, earn laurels and earn quick gratification as well. This does not however take away much from the larger impact of activism which is the cascading effect it has on the target group, who then become apostles of the message for the cause and the movement gains firm footing.

Hence, I suitably coined a term for this battle cry as (Chai par) ‘Cash Ki Charcha’ - a movement for each young Indian to reach out to 10 other Indians to make them aware and knowledgeable about technology enabling them to opt for digital methods to transact for their personal/business use instead of depending on physical currency thereby being a change agent and supporting the fight against corruption. I present some easy to-do for all committed change agents to enable you to support PM Modi's battle cry now.

How to become a ‘Cash Ki Charcha’ warrior and support India's change to a less-cash society?

Identify the target group - Senior Citizens in your neighbourhood, unbanked segment who may work for you at your homes or help at the workplace, etc.

Research - Identify banks in your area where you can help with bank account opening, ATMs close by, broadband/phone/internet provider in the area, neighbourhood net surfing centres

Define time spent on goal - It can be a couple of hours, but it must be defined so you can set it aside and set yourself to succeed in this task instead of over-committing and failing to deliver. Block time on your calendar

Plan for the worst, hope for the best - Change is hard. Learning new behaviours and technology takes time and repetition. It's easier for us because of access and conditioning over the years with experiential learning. Be patient.

Use this playbook for teaching & testing your students after the exercise.

At a bare minimum, each user should be able to have/be able to do/Know the following:

- Have a bank account

- Have mobile banking access enabled

- Have a mobile phone (feature phone or smartphone, though latter is preferable)

- Have at least a debit card attached to the bank account

- Have an AADHAAR card (though it’s optional)

- Be able to set/change debit card pin either at the bank premises, via phone banking or at an ATM

- Be able to remember their PIN

- Know security features of Debit Card, Bank Accounts usage and why all information associated with these financial instruments and how to remain protected against fraudsters

- Be able to withdraw money from an ATM

- Be able to identify a text message (SMS) received about money withdrawal as received from the bank

- Be able to use their debit card at POS for a purchase which requires entry of a PIN

- Be able to sign on receipt and match the amount debited with the message received on text message

- Be able to access internet banking including setting a username/password for login (enable internet access for them at home if they don't have it by contacting a service provider or demonstrating in a net surfing center)

- Be able to transfer money on feature money using USSD option

- Be able to make a payment in a store which has an AEPS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service) POS

If owner of a smartphone:

- Be able to download an e-wallet belonging to the bank/private operator where they have a banking relationship

- Be able to use the e-wallet for payment of utility bills, recharges etc

- Download bank's mobile banking app

- Download an appropriate app for UPI

- Be able to set MPIN for UPI transactions

- Be able to send money to another UPI account holder

- Be able to collect money from another UPI account holder

(Disclaimer: This article expresses her personal views, and not those of any of her employers—past, present or future.)

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first published: Nov 28, 2016 06:13 pm