TODAY -

When will India's first cashless island go truly cashless?

Sunzu Bachaspatimayum *

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



If you google the name of a tiny lake island of Manipur called Karang, the results would all point to one thing how Karang is the first cashless island of India. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology made this announcement under its Digital India programme in January 2017.

The Quint went for a reality check to the 2.27 sq km island in the middle of Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in northeast India, and found out that cashless transactions still elude Karang.

Karang, a Cashless Island, But Only Technically :

Contrary to the official claim that was made four months ago on 13 January, none of the 16 merchants of the island and the seven boat service providers have swiping machines nor do they use cashless transaction applications like e-wallet, USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) that enable money transaction in 2G mobile phones, UPI (United Payment Interface) and AEPS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System).

The Quint learned that officials of the district e-governance society of Bishnupur, under the aegis of the Department of Information Technology, government of Manipur, conducted an exhaustive three-day sensitisation programme under DFAA (Digital Finance Inclusion and Access Awareness) from 9 to 11 January. As part of the programme, the e-wallet mobile application SBI Buddy was incentivised among the participants of the programme by offering Rs 10 to those who installed the e-wallet, and additionally pocketing another Rs 10 for effecting the installation of the mobile app on a fellow islander.

With over 400 beneficiaries installing the e-wallet, and the DFAA programme having covered 700 persons, Karang technically fulfills the criteria for being declared cashless under the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

The MeitY criteria says that a village or island can claim being cashless if any one member of every household in the village is sensitised about cashless transaction, and at least 50% of the villagers use any one of the five cashless transaction applications e-wallet, USSD, UPI, AEPS or POS (Point of Sales) machine.

Cashlessness Eludes the Tiny Island :

Based purely on technicalities, the Gram Panchayat of the island on 13 January declared Karang as the first cashless island of India, with the Deputy Commissioner of Bishnupur and Additional Director of the department of IT of the government of Manipur affirming the claim by signing as witnesses, among other functionaries.

Four months after earning the distinction, Karang, unfortunately, is nowhere near being an island that conducts most of its business cashlessly. The infrastructure for actualising such transactions is simply not in place.

Oinam Satyabati Devi, a member of the Thanga-Karang Part-1 Gram Panchayat, who incidentally is one of the functionaries who signed the Karang declaration, admitted that the island, which has a population of 1,859, is yet to become 100 percent cashless.

For this sorry state of affairs, the elected representative hints that the IT department may have lost interest in the island in carrying out the much-needed hand-holding exercise even before the incubation period is done.

The department of IT is delaying the provision of the basic infrastructures needed for our island to become truly cashless. For instance, we have demanded 25 POS machines or swiping machines, but these are yet to be given. We've also applied for three Common Service Centres (CsCs) and even these are yet to materialised. I can't grasp why the department is delaying the process after successfully generating the hype about going cashless Oinam Satyabati Devi, Gram Panchayat Member

'Islanders Not Committed to Making Cashlessness a Reality' :

Dillip, a boat service provider who is one of 400 beneficiaries of the SBI Buddy e-wallet, expressed his disgust at the way things are, especially considering the fact that Karang's achievements have been widely reported by the media.

"The cashless declaration is turning out to be only for namesake. The government has neither provided POS machines nor set up CsCs in the island. It's shameful. " Prasant Oinam, an official of the district e-governance society of Bishnupur, who played an instrumental role in Karang's achievement, lamented the delay in transforming Karang into a 100 percent cashless island, but he remains mute on why his parent IT department is seen as changing its stance after registering the significant national achievement.

He is, however, quick to reveal that the delays in providing the POS machines and setting up the CsCs are due to the gaps in the islanders' capabilities to fulfil the mandatory requirements for such a provision.

Although most Karang families opt for a cashless transaction, they are not committed enough to translate it into a reality. For example, for a bank to provide a POS machine, the beneficiary should open a current account with a minimum balance of Rs 10,000. Even after this hurdle was done away with, after much persuasion by the department, the merchants and the boat service providers have yet to submit the mandatory documents like Aadhaar card, Pan card, cancelled cheque and a photocopy of their account's passbook Prasant Oinam

On digging deeper into the matter, islanders alleged that while all of the 297 households in the island have Jan Dhan bank accounts with UBI under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, the bank-assigned business correspondents have not provided their chequebooks, passbooks, nor their RuPay cards unless they are paid Rs 100 Rs 200.

The story of Karang island is typical of a society in which the state is anxious to stake claims of achievement and a public keen is to enjoy the fruits of development, but is beset with a system crippled by rampant corruption.

One hopes that the gaps in realising Karang's cashless dreams can be plugged with the same enthusiasm as showed in the run-up to making the claim.


* Sunzu Bachaspatimayum wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 17, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Parihal, Nimshimphy, Neilianthang: eMing
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #1
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #3 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Charuangc 2017: Rongmeis in Delhi & NCR
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Assam, Manipur bid to better ties
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Mary Kom enter Asian Ch'ships final
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Protest over Naga pact
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party
  • Welcome to Southern Nagalim greeting
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Back to basics to #endTB: Do it right
  • Man with Flower's Life :: Poem
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Quiz Competition at NE Festival
  • Free cataract operation at Loktak
  • Traffic control- still a flop show
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Ithai Barrage for Irrigation: Beautiful Promise
  • NE Festival 2017 starts off
  • The Sun & the Cloud :: Poem
  • Land encroachment at Lamka College
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Nagaland CM met Rajnath reg. Naga issue
  • Ranked 5th in women safety: stereotyping?
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • reach the tipping point for childhood TB?
  • A round of applause for N Biren, CM..
  • Link Research with Education for NE
  • Culture is beyond Religion: Najma Heptulla
  • Vacancies @ Chirag Estate, Gurgaon
  • Defection of some party workers : NPCC
  • ST for Meiteis: Final say rests with Delhi
  • Understanding responsibility
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • A crusade for a greener Manipur
  • Tourist Guide as career option #2
  • 'Govt working for inclusive development'
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • 5th NE Festival at Delhi: Program Schedule
  • 20th Asian Charter for Human Rights: Video
  • National Unity Day at Ukhrul
  • NPF MLA present at all parties meet
  • Of three Ws and Politics
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: e-pao Flash
  • Let's be racist
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • I Am In You To Feel Myself :: Poem
  • Conference: North East in Globalized Era
  • Seeking contributions : Library Centre
  • RGU Celebrated National Unity Day
  • Run for Unity organized by AR
  • Of traffic chaos and mad rush
  • What if Pan Naga Hoho is final settlement
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • IT Employment Devlp Course :: Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender [27 October] :: Gallery
  • Red Light Area in Manipur ?
  • IT Enabled Employment Skill Development
  • Football in India needs encouragement
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Meeting on Hornbill Festival 2017
  • Territorial integrity : No to separate admin
  • A confusing solution, if happens
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Hills are Better
  • Wedding :: Poem
  • Candle lighting in memory of Belinda Morse
  • NH7 Weekender: 2nd Day Report : 28 Oct
  • RGU launched Clean and Green Campus
  • Territorial integrity: All party meet sans NPF
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Tourism Day @ Phayeng #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Sikkim :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS