Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

A booster shot for the Digital India scheme. The State Capital's civic body, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), has entered into a joint venture agreement with the e-commerce giant Paytm to bring the cashless revolution in, at least, the vending zones across the Capital City. 

As per reports, BMC has chalked out a plan to implement the digital payment and cashless transactions services in over 9000 street vending stores. The plans included a tie-up with an online payment platform to put across a digital transaction infrastructure in the capital city. The civic body will roll out the cashless transaction services in the vending zones within 3 months.

The BMC pact with Paytm carries a lot of incentives. Paytm will reward the customers as well as the vendors after a minimum of 25 transactions every month. The payment platform will also come up with a proposal of loan facilities for shopkeepers subscribing to the online payment system. 

"In the first phase, we have sent the list of street vendors across Bhubaneswar to Paytm. If a vendor transacts digitally at least 25 times in a month, he/she will get rewarded by the company which will directly get deposited in their respective bank accounts," informed BMC Deputy Commissioner, Pramod Kumar Prusty.

Despite being a promising initiative, vendors have a mixed reaction to BMC's novel initiative. 

"New age customers, nowadays, are preferring for cashless transactions. If they have no cash or in short of spare change, they opt for digital payment mode. It is easier for us to accept the spare change digitally instead of stocking the cash at our counters. It is good that the amount gets directly credited to our account," said Ramesh Chandra Das, a street vendor.   

However, expressing concern he said, "The flip side of cashless transactions is we have to queue up at ATMs to withdraw the cash. Moreover, many wholesale counters don't accept payments digitally. They demand cash payment during wholesale procurement of commodities."

"Overall, the digital payment method is convenient but it demands extra effort," he grudgingly added.

With the Modi government giving an extra push to digital transactions post the demonetisation, the Naveen Patnaik government has made digital transactions its core policy. The BMC's cashless drive in vending zones is being seen as State's measure to push online transactions.