New Delhi:In an attempt to promote cashless payments, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday launched a nationwide campaign for usage of digital payments by traders.
The initiative was launched by finance minister Arun Jaitley and is expected to further strengthen the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s push towards a cashless economy.
In this connection, 15 August will be observed by CAIT as “Less Cash Day” across the country. It plans to organize seminars, conferences, round-tables and workshops across different states, to promote the adoption of electronic payments by the trading community.
Beside traders, CAIT is aiming to reach out to farmers, transporters, small and medium enterprises, hawkers, consumers, self-employed groups, and women entrepreneurs, among other sections.
“This campaign is in line with the prime minister’s efforts for converting the Indian economy into a cashless economy,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT, adding that this will also help traders transition towards the goods and services tax (GST) regime.
The government aims to implement GST from 1 April 2017.
As per the proposed model GST bill, GST will be paid through either debit or credit card, NEFT (national electronic fund transfer) or RTGS (real time gross settlement), hence the need for creating awareness among the different sections of traders.
The government has set up an information technology backbone called the goods and services tax network to facilitate seamless online payments.
Jaitley, during last year’s budget speech, spoke about making India a cashless society, with the aim of curbing the flow of blackmoney. The government subsequently announced a number of measures to promote cashless transactions, including doing away with charges linked to payments of utility bills through debit and credit cards as well as bookings made through government websites like irctc.co.in.
However, there is uncertainty lingering around the effectiveness of this campaign.
“Mobile banking penetration is still low in India. Most of the small traders continue to trade in cash, thus there is need to create awareness amongst them about mobile banking before introducing other cashless payment instruments”’ said S.L. Rao, former director general of the National Council for Applied Economic Research.