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‘Cashless’ village goes back to counting cash

Haryana’s digital village doesn’t have any card swipe machines nor any internet

Published: 12th November 2017 12:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2017 12:16 PM   |  A+A-

Residents of Haryana’s once famous ‘cashless’ Jhattipur village prefer using hard currency instead of credit or debit cards

NEW DELHI: It has been a year since Jhattipur in Haryana’s Panipat district grabbed headlines when it was declared the first village to go cashless after demonetisation. In the recent past, Jhattipur’s inhabitants have gone back to using cash.

Around Jhattipur, 90 km away from here on the bustling G T Karnal highway, old posters and billboards announcing ‘Digital Village of Haryana’ abound. But people there are hardly bothered about cashless transactions. “I had applied for a point-of-sale (PoS) machine for my shop five months ago, which hasn’t being installed yet,” said Sunil Kumar, a shop owner. He adds that the village has seen development in terms of basic facilities, but people still prefer to use cash instead of debit and credit cards. “Nobody uses cards here. People are not aware about credit and debit cards.”

Mukesh is another shopkeeper who doesn’t have a PoS machine. “This is a small village, and people mostly buy things of daily needs on credit. Everyone knows everyone here, so we don’t have any problem in extending credit to them. Only cash can fulfill the needs of such villages,” he said.

Rajinder Singh, the village sarpanch, agrees that Jhattipur has nothing to claim that it is a digital village. “We told the banks to arrange more PoS machines, but they are yet to be delivered,” he said.
School students here have been given separate access to the wi-fi connection on a rotation basis—one student can access the internet for an hour daily, but the connection hardly works.

With over 1,050 households and 6,500 inhabitants, Jhattipur does have an ICICI Bank branch and a rural Sarva Haryana Grameen Bank. Their executives had conducted drives early this year and people had opened zero balance accounts. “Almost every household has a bank account, but they don’t know how to operate net banking or mobile banking,” said Rajinder.

Most people in the village are land owners, and the literacy rate is 80 per cent. Their their children study in schools, with some attending private schools in nearby Panipat. “We want our children to be well educated. We were quite happy when the village was declared digital last year, but nothing happened thereafter,” said Sonelal, a resident of Jhattipur.

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