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The Assam government has stopped cash payments in majority sectors as money is being transferred through Real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) and online mode, Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary today said.
"No cash payments are being allowed from the public resources flowing through budgetary control with majority payments being done digitally through RTGS and online transfers, while some payments are also being made through cheques," he told reporters here.
He said 70 per cent of the public expenditure flowing though the state budget was committed to expenditure like salary and pension, adding that these transactions have been made 100 per cent digital with around 4.35 lakh employees drawing their salaries online.
Besides, about two lakh workers directly related to government programmes such as ICDS, MGNREGA are using 100 per cent digital methods, the minister said.
Even the payment of wages of muster-roll workers and work-charge employees of the state government are being made through RTGS transfer into their accounts.
Further, about 80 per cent of VAT collected in Assam is being received online payment from the dealers, Patowary said.
However, revenue collection of other departments such as transport, excise, forest royalty and others is still continuing through cash, he said.
Besides, a large number of non-government sectors such as tea garden management, unorganised labour market, trading community, retailer sector, private hospitals, private educational institutions are still continuing with cash payments, the minister said.
Patowary said that he had directed all concerned to prepare themselves for "alternative and permanent arrangement" as the currently followed interim arrangement of cash payment through government account in some sectors would not continue beyond December 6 next.
The minister said a large scale digital payment literacy campaign had been chalked out by the Higher Education department with State Bank of India (SBI) by involving 20,000 NSS volunteers in December and that preparatory activities had already begun. Deputy Commissioners of all districts had been asked to liaise with officers of labour departments of both state and the Centre, as advised by Union government, to ensure financial inclusion and digital payment to all labourers, working in each district in the informal sector as well. The Urban Development department is also preparing an action plan to ensure that all payments and receipts of urban local bodies shall be cashless by March next. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has held meetings with RBI, all major bankers, BSNL and important departments of the state government, and decided to implement various measures so that the digital payment will be "a way of life" in Assam within a short time. It has been decided that all payments and receipts in the state will be made digital in a time-bound manner. Regarding non-governmental entities like private hospitals, educational institutions, shops and establishments, the departments concerned would issue necessary advisory/directions so that digital payment becomes a norm within a fixed time frame, the minister added.