Cash Mukt Bharat!!!

  • The neigbourhood vegetable bhaiyya Yadavji is still going strong negating all predictions that the organized retail will swallow the likes of him. Organised retail didn’t quite swallow him. But he is now a fringe player of that organized retail. I pick up the weekly need of vegetables and fruits. His son who is in his early twenties, quickly totals up the bill in a handheld POS (Point of sale) device and lets me know the amount. He then sends me a request for the payment using his UPI (Unified Payments Interface) App on his smart phone. I approve the same and the payment gets credited to his account.

  • Adi Ganesh Store which was a popular shop in our neighbourhood In Mumbai catering to the typical needs of the South Indians (Read as Filter Coffee powder) is now Adi Ganesh Super market. They now accept payments in credit cards even for purchases under Rs. 100.

  • At the Guruvayurappan Temple nearby, the Hundis for coins and cash have been replaced by plastic card swiping machines where all donations can be made and receipts received.

  • Our family physician DrPurab is still the smiling self and fit as ever. He continues to give his own medicines but one can pay his fees through credit card.

  • The “Old paperwala on call” still comes promptly to collect the old newspapers. He now has a tie up with the Big Bazaar chain of stores and gives Big Bazaar cash cards for the paper taken.

  • Almost all auto rickshaws are now part of some aggregator or other and are accepting payments through mobile wallets.

  • The Domestic help handed over a card which had the details of her bank account number to which she requested the salary be transferred.

  • It looked like that the benefits of JAM (Jan Dhan Yojana/Aadhar/Mobile phone) which had threatened to be just a great theory has become a reality.

I realized that India in Jan 2025 is not the same in more ways than one as it was in 2017 when I left for abroad.  But I am surprised first, impressed next and fascinated finally by the transformation of a country in the area of financial inclusion and the transition to almost a Cash Mukt Bharat in just 8 years!

Almost everybody I talked to credited this transformation to various moves the present BJP Government undertook and in particular the “Demonetisation” of 500 and 1000 Rupee currencies in 2016. I remember that time very well. It was in November of 2016 when the country had just finished its annual quota of bursting crackers for Diwali. On 8th night, it was the turn of the Prime Minister to set off his Diwali bomb. At the stroke of midnight 500 and 1000 Rupee notes lost their legal tender. What followed in the next couple of weeks I now realize had sown the seeds for India almost becoming a Cash Mukt Bharat.


With almost no cash in hand available, the general public had to resort to ways and means to avoid using their left over legal tender and use them only sparingly. People started doing day today shopping of veggies/fruits,.. in super markets instead of the neighbourhood vendor though he sold stuff fresh.  People avoided auto rides by hailing on the roads and resorted to “Ola Autos/Ola Cabs” where they could pay by mobile wallets. Within few days as banks resembled Ration shops of the 80’s India with serpentine lines right from sunrise, vegetable and other vendors started accepting cheques for payment in fear of losing their customers.  Most food establishments who had a minimum limit for accepting credit cards removed such limits. In the hinterland of India is where the impact was colossal. Though a big population was banked under Jan Dhan Yojana, till then they were not banking. The overnight shortage of currency, helplessness in otherwise carrying out day to today lives and finally the threat of losing business permanently pushed many to figure out alternate ways for making and accepting payments and they did. There was utter chaos for few days as the country came to terms with the move but ultimately in the long run, change did happen. In India normally change is slow. But under duress change is swift.

“Can you get up now?” It’s the wife at home waking me up from my nice Sunday afternoon siesta.  “I told you to think of a topic to write for the daughter for tomorrow’s Children’s Day event. Did you think of something??” I had not. But muttered as usual, “Yes”. What’s the topic on?? She asked. And I answered, “My dream India @ 2025!!!”

0 thoughts on “Cash Mukt Bharat!!!”

  1. Good one and very much relevant dream Anand San…
    At least people who are capable shall fully resort to alternate payment modes if they have not yet.

  2. Arunmozhi Balasubramanian

    Oh Anand…you fooled me…I thought those are a reality now….but you may not have to wait for 8 years…this will become a reality sooner than you think…give it another 2 years…small shop vendors will be using electronic payments….But change will be difficult and the move by Modi could be a big push.

    1. Well, it was a wishlist post for sure! But some of the things I mentioned have already started. I agree 8 years is long but cities may get there sooner. But for country as a whole, it still may need time. But this is a game changer!
      Thanks for your read and comment Arun.

  3. Good one. I think 2025 is far.. cash mukth bharath will be a reality soon. JUST read news paper today regarding Paytm handling huge transactions post demonetisation . One chaiwala in Mumbai accepting money thru Paytm even for Rs 7/-.

  4. Good and practical analysis!
    “In India normally change is slow. But under duress change is swift.” – Well said! 👏👏

  5. Just yday when eash and me were talking abt this he told me cashless transactions is the way forward. He also told me that he doesn’t need to spend even 1euro in sweden. It is all on card. Just hoping our dreams come true and as usual well written Anand.


    Hi RSA, nice, at right Time, Paytm advt on Hindu one full page for electronic payment. recently i read about sweden where no currency only paperless payments. let us have better bright future.

  7. Great article, Anand. Enjoyed reading it. As of now only 5% of India has access to plastic / e-money , 95% is out of the loop. You just have to go 5 km away from any National highway into the hinterland, to come face to face with reality. This is both a burden and an opportunity. Before we can think of creating Smart cities we have to think of creating smart citizens.

  8. What a lovely futuristic dream filled with realistic thoughts!. One week gone and no major worries, as I am mostly on cashless transactions. As many readers commented, India may not have to wait till 2025.

  9. Pingback: Savour the Achhe Din!!! | anandkumarrs

  10. Hey Aanand (extra ‘a’ is complementary, if you don’t mind). You missed something about the begging community and what they may resort. Or the Ache Din are going to be so ‘ ACHE’
    India becomes beggarfree.

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  12. Spot on Anna! It merits an interim review indeed with the big player UPI and mobile transactions becoming part of our daily living. It will be interesting to read again after a few years, and who knows what is in store with talks of e-currency etc.

  13. Wonderful article reflecting reality Anand. I was travelling to my ancestral village some 220km west of chennai and wanted to buy fruits enroute in a nearby village. The fruit vendor an old lady sold me the fruits and said the cost is ₹220. I gave her a 500₹ note and she refused to take saying she doesn’t have change, and instead pointed out to me a QR code in her mobile fruit cart and said to me- “Use this with your phone and pay me through it. My phone will give a me an audible message saying i have received the money in Tamil”. I was really stunned and truly believe that digital india is real now and the future.

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