Digital Economy Current Affairs

HRD Ministry pushes for cash-free campuses

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is aiming to make financial transactions completely digital in all higher education institutions. Under this initiative, all public and private institutions including Central and State universities will be fully digitised.

The HRD Ministry is aiming to fully digitise all campus processes including admissions, assessments, result declaration. Moreover, all canteens and business establishments on campus are also encouraged to resort to digital modes using e-wallets by linking the bank accounts with Aadhaar.

Key Facts

‎The higher education regulators like All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) have been taken on board to help facilitate this transition. The HRD Ministry has asked universities to appoint nodal officer for this purpose and send a monthly report to the UGC. ‎The work of developing modules for the internal process is also given to an agency. Under this digitisation initiative, the complete digitisation target will be achieved within six to eight months.

Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan (VISAKA)

The HRD Ministry had launched Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan (VISAKA), a digital financial literacy campaign aimed to actively engage youth and students of Higher Education Institutions to encourage and motivate all payers and payees to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of funds.  So far, it has enrolled lakhs of volunteers from among students to train families in their neighbourhood to conduct financial transactions digitally through  BHIM app. They also helped shopkeepers, vendors and merchants’ associations in major markets, talk to shift to digital transactions. Around 2000 higher education institutions were made digital as part of this initiative.

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PM launches cashless/less cash township models across 12 states

Prime Minister has launched 81 cashless/less cash townships across 12 states in Nagpur. The 81 townships included 56 in Gujarat and 25 in 11 states including Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Chhatisgarh. The model of cashless/less cash township was developed by Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GNFC) across these States under the auspices of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.

GNFC’s township at Bharuch (Gujarat) had become India’s first 100% cashless township after demonetization. It is expected that these 81 townships will deliver 2.5 lakh cashless transactions per day, translating into 9 crore cashless transactions in a year.

Cashless townships

The townships for adopting GNFC’s model were selected based on a third-party assessment by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC). The chosen 81 townships belonged to that of central public sector companies such as ONGC, Indian Oil, NTPC, SAIL, BHEL, NMDC, CRPF, BSF and Police Lines and also to private sector townships like Reliance, Essar, Adani, Birla Aditya, Welspun etc.

Criteria

The criteria for qualification of a township to a less cash township are: townships must have completed the payment acceptance infrastructure; all the families residing in the townships must have been covered under training programmes; 80% of total transactions during the review period should have been done through digital modes.

NITI Aayog has appreciated GNFC’s model and had advised Central ministries and CMDs of 300-plus central PSUs for quickly adopting to this model.

Significance

As per the study conducted by PWC on GNFC’s cashless initiative, following benefits have been identified:

  • It resulted in financial inclusion, cashlessness as a lifestyle, better parental control over child’s expenses, women’s empowerment, more convenience in performing transactions and social upliftment.
  • Over 96% of farmers during the assessment reported cost savings resulting from fewer trips to fertiliser shops and discounts on cashless transactions. They have also reported better money management.

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