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How many times have you paid for a packet of biscuits by debit card at a local kirana store? In fact, the question should be, have you ever?
Most of us living in the cities have seen advancement in various fields, other than currency. While the whole world advocates the necessity to move to e-cash, i.e., plastic money, India seems to be ignorant of the urge. However, not every part of India is of such mentality. In fact, the one place in India which has gone completely digital is the last place anyone would even guess! That place is the village of Akodara, located an hour away from Ahmedabad, in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat. Here everyone uses cards instead of cash, so much that the recent demonetization step taken by Narendra Modi has had no ill-effect on the economy of the village.
The village of 1,200 people was adopted by ICICI bank. The bank was helped by the local administration implement its vision of full digitalization.
Everyone here has been touched by the futuristic modern banking. Every adult has a savings account with ICICI, which can be accessed through the local branch, ATMs, or using mobile phones via SMS. The villager's most important business i.e., selling agri-produce and milk have been completely digitized and made cashless.
This system has helped in eliminating the presence of corruption and fraud. In addition, each account has been tied up with its respective Aadhar card. The widows of this village get their pension of Rs. 800 monthly directly in their account, which saves them the Rs. 70 they had to spend earlier to go to the district headquarters to collect the pension.
Akodara has moved on from the earlier method of teaching that was between teacher and student. In this village, digital aid has been implemented, so students can see animated pictures on the screen, which makes them more interested towards studies.
It can be called a little artificial as well, as it only shows us how a fully digitalized India would look like. At present, the village can't fit in organically with the rest of the India. However, it does show how modern banking, low-cost phones, and higher rural consumption will affect the Indian market.
These people know how to use these services to the fullest, including using their return policies!
The village is said to have had a high literacy rate even before the digitalization process began.
That's to say that the village had all basic requirements fulfilled before the digitalization process could take place. This is the biggest challenge in spreading digitalization to all parts of India, as other regions of the country would also need their basic needs to be met before the revolution of digitalization can be realised.
That's because it has managed to do what even the biggest cities in India haven't been able to achieve.
Isn't it truly inspiring?