Ibrahimpur, a sleepy village in Telangana’s Siddipet district, about 125 km from Hyderabad, has officially became the first hamlet in south India to go cashless as except for school-going children, about 1,200 villagers belonging 370 families were given debit cards.
All shops selling utility and grocery items in Ibrahimpur are provided with card swiping POS machines to facilitate villagers to buy their daily needs.
Now Twenty-year-old Shyamala has never been happier. The daily wage worker says her husband does not pester her every evening to part with her hard-earned money to buy alcohol.
“I don’t have even a single rupee with me now. All that I have now is this debit card. I earn Rs 200-Rs 250 a day and it is deposited in my Andhra Bank account. I don’t give a penny to my husband now,” Shyamala said.
“Whenever I want to purchase anything – provisions or vegetables or even biscuits for my son, I go to the shop and swipe the card in the machine to pay the required amount,” she added.
Ibrahimpur is represented by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s nephew and irrigation minister T Harish Rao.
“There are no cash transactions in the village now. While 70% of them already have their bank accounts, in the last one month we have ensured that all the remaining families have opened their accounts in Andhra Bank branch at the nearby Nararayanraopet village,” Kumbala Yella Reddy, son of sarpanch Kumbala Lakshmi, said, reports, Hindustan Times.
All the shops in the village, including provision stores, fertiliser shop, fair price shop, have been provided with Point Of Sale (PoS) machines, where villagers can swipe their cards to buy goods for their daily requirements.
“I don’t accept cash now just to encourage the villagers to use their smart cards,” Praveen, a grocery shop owner, said.
Most of the villagers own smartphones and have downloaded the Andhra Bank’s mobile wallet. “We are now getting instant messages whenever we do any transaction,” 50-year-old Ramulu, an agriculturist, said.
However, villagers say they sometimes face the problem of network connectivity and as a result, the swiping machines stop accepting the transactions.
To overcome this problem, the village administration has decided to provide free wi-fi connectivity to the entire village shortly. “Once we get wi-fi, we are going to be completely hi-tech and smart,” Yella Reddy said.
“The minister has asked bank authorities to make an arrangement to disburse cash to villagers in emergency situations by using debit cards,” Reddy said.