An initiative to make a remote village cashless in the Naxal-affected Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh was today rewarded for excellence in public administration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The award was received by Dantewada Collector Sourabh Kumar on behalf of the district administration for making Palnar village cashless.
During demonetisation, Kumar planned an indigenous strategy for making the district cashless.
He formed 11 experienced teams of various officials, social reformers, and institutions. These teams created awareness among the locals, shopkeepers and businessmen and taught them how to conduct cashless transactions.
Within three weeks, over 5,000 people in the district became members of the digital army and 12,800 people were trained in making digital transactions. Shopkeepers were encouraged to download applications on their mobiles and use it.
"It was a difficult task to make the whole village cashless as the village does not even have a mobile tower. Providing connectivity for cashless transactions was a big thing but we overcame this through our innovative approach. The village is now completely cashless," Kumar told PTI.
The district administration of Dantewada engaged BSNL for establishing free Wi-Fi internet facility for encouraging cashless transactions.
The efforts garnered positive results and Palnar, a remote village in Dantewada's Kuwakonda development block, became the first district of the state where all transactions are cashless.
The entire shopping complex in the region has Wi-Fi facility and businessmen have Point of sale (POS) machines and each shopkeeper has e-payment facility.
About 90 per cent of businessmen in Dantewada have adopted cashless payment mode. The district administration has now started the process of making all payments and pensions under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for all purchases at gram panchayat level through digital mode.
Prior to this initiative, Palnar had no banks or ATMs.
Besides this, other initiatives across the country were given the prime minister's awards.