Amid the Centre's push for digital transaction, Dhasai village in Thane district has become the first "cashless village" in Maharashtra, state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said today.
From today, all payments in the village are being done through plastic money. Traders, vegetable and fruit vendors and others providing goods and services in Dhasai are using swipe machines for cashless transactions.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a revolutionary step to check corruption and terror funding by banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. He has shown us a dream and has taken steps in that direction.
"In this journey, Dhasai has emerged as the first cashless village in the state. Maharashtra, too, will soon become a cashless state," he said.
Dhasai, in Murbad taluka, around 70 km from Mumbai, has a population of around 10,000. Around 60 nearby small villages depend on Dhasai for trade and their daily needs.
The initiative to make this village cashless was taken by Bank of Baroda in collaboration with NGO Veer Savarkar Pratishthan. The NGO trained the villagers in using digital methods of transactions, the minister said.
Mungantiwar, who attended a programme in Dhasai with General Manager of Bank of Baroda Navtej Singh, Randheer Savarkar of Veer Savarkar Pratishthan, MLA Kisan Kathore and others used his debit card to purchase rice, marking beginning of cashless transactions in the village.
"The whole idea was to make the village adopt alternative channels, which are cashless, for making transactions. A week back we started educating shopkeepers in Dhasai about cashless transactions and they agreed to adopt it.
"We provided them PoS machines so that they can encourage their customers to go for cashless transactions," said Bank of Baroda General Manager and Zonal Manager (Mumbai) Navtej Singh.
There are nearly 100 shopkeepers in Dhasai, which also has a weekly market where people from nearby villages come to buy necessary items.
A majority of the villagers have RuPay debit cards linked to their Jan Dhan accounts. The villagers have started using their debit cards for small transactions, he said.
The installation of PoS machines started yesterday and the bank has helped in deploying nearly 50 such devices in the village, Singh said, adding, "We have waived security deposit of Rs 10,000 (each) for PoS machines and also the installation fee.