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Asserting that India was undergoing a huge digital transformation, Union minister Prakash Javadekar today appealed to the academic community to become part of the country's growth story instead of being mere witnesses to the changing social order. Reiterating the Prime Minister's vision of a "cashless India", the Union HRD Minister today also launched a nation-wide campaign on spreading digital financial literacy to various strata of people. Javadekar through a video-conference at the NIC here, addressed about 10 lakh students and faculty spread across 18,000 institutions, including over 200 premier ones like IITs, IIMs, NITs and central universities. "The demonetisation is a move towards a cashless society. And, this huge digital transformation that India is undergoing at the moment, will bring greater transparency, in eradication of black money and corruption. You will work hard but someone tomorrow may get a job through corruption. "So, this is the opportunity for you all to be a partner in this growth story of India, instead of just being a witness to the social change unfolding in front of you," he said. As part of the campaign -- Vitta Saksharta Abhiyan (VISAKA), launched by the HRD ministry, a dedicated webpage has been set up, and the government has also sought feedback, suggestions from people in academia and other fields, and encouraged them to share relevant material in boosting the awareness drive. Later speaking to reporters, Javadekar said, this "massive campaign" would be spread across the country, including in high schools. "We want to reach to 3.5 crore students, over 160 central institutions, 800 universities and 46,000 colleges. And, we believe this campaign will grow well from here. "We would physically visit institutions across the country and also virtually reach out to them to spread this financial literacy and help the country achieve ease in transactions," he said. "People are very efficient in adapting, and as Modiji said in his 'Mann ki Baat' the tech-savvy must help others as we move towards a cashless society. There are one billion mobile phones in the country, one billion accounts in banks, 40 crore are seeded through Aadhar cards. This is nothing short of a revolution.
And, with this campaign we want to let people smoothly make transition to a different India," he said.
"World over, on an average cash is 4 per cent of the GDP, in our country it is 12 per cent, which is maximum. Last 70 years, we have seen the impact of having a cash-based economy. So, we need to change," he said.
(REOPENS DEL75) During the nearly 40-minute video-conference, Javadekar also made a power-point presentation, on various ways of accessing technology, through simple or smart phones, or even without phones, for business transactions. "You have no bank account, no mobile phone, but you could still go digital with Jandhan account and RuPay cards. If you have smart phones, you could access services through USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), and of course through mobile wallets," he said. The minister also urged campuses to develop their own local cashless economy through custom-built cards for accessing services in colleges and universities. He also urged NSS and NSC volunteer to help spread digital marketing. "Let me tell you, if real tax is paid, our budget would double and consequently budget for HRD would also get augmented. So, let us work towards a better country with increased transparency that technology could bring" he said. Javadekar also displayed a small device that can be attached to a mobile phone for making M-POS (mobile point of sale) transactions. "This is for Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), all you need is just your thumb impressions to do the transaction," he said. The minister also spoke of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for going digital with smart phones and internet facility. Javadekar also spoke about the world's largest digital national building initiative 'Smart India Hackathon' that was launched last month. "We launched hackathon in engineering colleges and we are also looking forward to getting feedback from students and teachers on this new campaign," he said.