HYDERABAD: Demonetisation has left small Kirana stores with no option but to adapt themselves. Take Shama poultry, for instance, the shop at BS Maktha, a lower middle-class neighbourhood, a few hundred metres away from the CM’s camp office in Somajiguda.
Mohammad Sidiqque, the poultry shop owner, worried about the cash crunch after the note ban decided to go digital. He was hindered by poor mobile internet connectivity.
When traders across the city were struggling to bring their sales back up, Siddique decided to offer WiFi to his customers. Siddique shares the financial burden of the broadband with his neighbouring Kirana store owner. His partner uses a WiFi booster at his shop.
After demonetisation, the 33-year-old Sidiqque and his neighbour have been researching online for optimised internet usage. He had set up a WiFi connection at his shop six years ago for his entertainment. He also had a Paytm payment option at his shop much before Paytm became a dedicated merchant platform.
“I got the WiFi connection to pass time at my shop, it became handy after demonetisation,” said Siddique. He said that sharing WiFi with his customers, helped retain his customers and cut down transaction time. The 60 mbps internet connection that Siddique had taken is shared with a neighbouring Kirana store. “There is no 3G network in this area and e-wallet transactions over 2G network takes time and in most cases, the transaction fails.
So, I give my customers the WiFi password to make it easy for them,” said Dinesh Singh, a 26-year-old who now runs his father’s Kirana store. This also ensures that the customers keep coming back to my store, he added. Both shop owners said, they found the transition to accepting digital payments much easier but are yet to apply for a Point of Sales (PoS) machine with their banks.
“I use m-swipe, it's much better than using a PoS machine. I don’t have to charge this machine and works just like a PoS machine with Bluetooth or WiFi,” said Siddique. It needs to be said that m-swipe is a private company and charges the same 2 percent transaction charge like a bank given PoS machine.
However, neither Siddique nor Dinesh knows if the payment gateway is safe. “About 20 percent of my customers are now pay using Paytm using my WiFi connection. We change the password every week,” said Dinesh. We transfer the e-wallet currency onto our card and buy our stock by card, he added.
In 2015, KT Rama Rao, the IT minister had launched a pilot project to provide free WiFi Wireless Internet connection around the Hussain Sagar Lake but the WiFi service has poor connectivity and signal strength.
The minister had then said that broadband connectivity will be provided through Optic Fiber Cables across Telangana in four years.
It is being executed along with the Mission Bhageeratha and will be completed in 2019. Also, Secunderabad railway station became the first to provide free WiFi. There are 21 free WiFi hotspots provided by commercial establishments in the city.