Two years after being declared India’s first digital village Badjhiri, is back to cash. Immediately following demonetization, cashless payments were actively promoted by the Bank of Baroda in this region of the Bhopal district. To support the cashless push, some necessary infrastructure was provided and digital literacy camps were scheduled, although never fully launched. Not long thereafter, POS machines were put aside and have been collecting dust ever since, as villagers are against digital payments.
One of the biggest obstacles to the shirt is the 2% commission charged for every digital transaction – a cost that many villagers cannot afford. The locals say: “Forget cashless payments, here villagers hardly have money. We need bank loans, money for school, hospitals and regular electricity. Without this, cashless or digital village does not make any sense.” Ultimately, residents favor development in a more gradual way rather than leapfrogging directly into digital world. Surprisingly, Bank of Baroda’s authorities admit that the cashless payments awareness camps were stopped a long time ago. In the end, “the old ways are the best ways” in case of Badjhiri.