For Bharat, Demonetization should’ve ideally had no impact on rural areas that rarely deal in high-denomination banknotes since small-ticket transactions were largely adequate for their inhabitants but they did face a cash crunch since demonetization left just 14 percent of hard cash circulating in the country. Moreover, because of the scarcity of ATMs in all areas, the population in rural areas had to travel as far as 20 to 30 KMs to meet their day-to-day needs.
But this is not the news, it is how lakhs of villages across India operate, hit by infrastructural deficiencies, especially during hard times. One good thing that happened was that demonetization brought these challenges to the fore, forcing the governance to take action and look for remedies. After all, this kind of connectivity and cash availability was critical for rural areas that make up a bulk of India’s geography- if the demonetization was to succeed- in principle.
In time, a number of initiatives taken by the government, have helped to drive monetary digitization in the country. BharatNet, Startup India, and Saubhagya Yojna (rural electrification), have contributed to the country digitizing phenomenally today. Startups are also acting as the perfect catalyst to bridge the infrastructural gap of Bharat.
For instance, XPay.Life, a startup that operates on World Class Technology Framework of AMBIC model (an acronym for Artificial Intelligence, Mobility, Blockchain, IoT, and Cloud-based solutions), is now solving the problem that Bharat faced during demonetization.
At present, the currency in circulation (vis-à-vis GDP) is decreasing and has come down 1 percentage point to 10.48 percent since demonetization. Digital payments, on the other hand, are experiencing a steady rise and have grown 10-fold since 2014. The country needs innovative solutions to be able to meet this demand, while adhering to the objective of digitization at all levels.
XPay.Life’s ATP (All-Time-Payment) van service is gaining considerable traction within rural regions because they empower people with ‘any time cash’ and digital payments. Basically, these ATP with their self-help kiosks that facilitate digital payments (such as electricity bills, phone bills, and other utility payments) as well as cash withdrawals.
This approach further helps the people who are not familiar with digital (or ATM) transactions with the availability of an associate onboard. Ultimately, people become well-versed with the digital approach and are more likely to adopt digital services over their smartphones.
An ATP van can be called by any village that it covers and an ETA is given to the person who makes the call. The real-time location of the ATP van can also be traced by the person if he or she has a mobile application as it is GPS enabled. This comes across as an effective solution without exponentially inflating the infrastructure deployment costs. Further, since it works on the AMBIC model, it ensures the highest level of security, efficiency, and visibility for across-the-board operations.
As RBI and the monetary authorities foresee almost a 10X growth in digital payments over the next three years, it will be highly innovative concepts such as ATP vans that will be the lifeblood of cashless and digital monetary transactions that will be the cornerstone of this ongoing development.