TODAY -

Celebrating Karang: A cashless village

Lalithambigai K *

Loktak, Thanga and Karang :: 2011
Loktak, Thanga and Karang :: 2011 :: Pix - Sushil Khomdram



"While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things are extraordinary and that makes all difference".

It is many a time Manipur is quoted for insurgency, AFSPA and other developmental challenges but, this past one week the Karang Island in Manipur being a small region that has brought all difference to the state of Manipur and also nationwide has hit the headlines for its positive activities undertaken in Governance.

Over and above, the Karang island has set an example to the so called mainland India for its exemplary work in terms of digital revolution.

Karang Island, a small island in the Loktak lake of Bishnupur district roughly equal to the size of Tuvalu island in the Pacific Ocean, having a population of 1859 (Census 2011) has brought laurel to the state of Manipur by getting Prime Minister's Award for excellence in Public Administration in the Northeast and Hill States group for implementing 'Promotion of Digital payments'.

Being India's first cashless island, Karang has grabbed nation's attention today because of its sheer achievement of adopting digital transaction irrespective of its remote and backwardness. Though literacy rate is only 53% and fishing being the primary occupation, the region has overcome the epitome of discomfort in terms of experiencing a digital transformation thus astonishing the whole nation.

The journey to convert Karang into cashless is never immediate. It is all effort and desire. Since December 2016, various efforts were undertaken by the Bishnupur District e-Governance Society to make the island cashless.

All common service centres, civil society organizations, SHGs and youths were involved to impart door-to-door training in Karang as to how to use POS machines, BHIM app and Paytm for their day to day transactions. Free of cost POS machines were given to boat service providers, fish sellers and merchants in Karang.

To make public delivery services more accessible a common service centre was opened in Karang which issues various digital services such as Aadhaar enrolment, Bank account opening, registration of forms etc.

The campaign was made more inclusive by giving all digital services at door steps to physically challenged. Nevertheless, to make these initiatives self-sustainable, Karang Cashless Promotion Society was formed. 'I Pledge' Campaign, You tube online channel for tutorial on digital payments in Manipuri and other local languages were some of our innovations.

The activities that were undertaken in Karang Island has not only led to decrease in cash transactions but is going to create a massive impact on the livelihood of Karang. Tourism can be developed in that region.

The view of Loktak lake from Karang is splendid. People visiting Loktak lake can also have a boat ride to Karang and there is a large scope for creating recreational parks and home stays in Karang.

A specialized tourism agency from London has expressed its desire to adopt Karang seeing its enormous potential. 'Real empowerment of people involves assuring control or mastery over their lives and peoples participation in the essence of good governance'.

Hence, it is high time for the people of Karang to continue to use digital transaction, as nation has tagged them as India's first cashless Island same like Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya state which is famous for its cleanliness.

In addition, the people of Karang should use their resources in every possible means to attract tourism in coordination with district administration and state government support.

In summary, India lives in its villages; India begins and ends in the villages; If villages perish India will perish too.

Karang village becoming India's first cashless island, state Government's new initiative of 'Go to Village' Program, Centre's Gram Swaraj Abhiyan are some of the initiatives in the right direction for the journey towards change in terms of inevitable growth and development.

Let us work for a brighter India by empowering and uplifting our villages. Jai Hind!!


* Lalithambigai K wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is SDO Bishnupur and she can be contacted at lalithakalidass(DOT)ias(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 30 , 2018.



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