A Day in the #Cashless City of Delhi

We have been advised to shift to plastic money and digital wallets- well actually, one particular brand of it- by the head of the Central government. So I decide to do a reality check of some places, which can be considered as its fancy houses.

I first go to Mandi House, to a state supported cultural institutions' library. I have to pay a fine, so I ask the librarian ," Shall I pay by card?" he looks up and laughs. "Pay by cash please." He can't stop smiling.

I then go to a shop run by another government art institution, and want to purchase a few items. "Shall I pay by a digital wallet please."The store keeper looks up and frowns. "No, No, No." I persist, "Shall I pay by a card." He replies," We had a machine for reading cards, but it has not been working. We have applied for another one. It will come in a few months...maybe".

I go to one of the official canteens. I order tea and some snack. "You take digital money , don't you?" The canteen boy looks irritated. "You don't have money on you Madam?". He has already served me. I give him the money I have, and quickly calculate how many minutes of standing in a queue Rs 25 amounts to.

Well, how is it that the head of the government promotes, what the functionaries in the heart of the city know is impractical. How can the-great-all-powerful-man be so out of sync with reality?

Some things work on cash transactions alone. And if this is the situation in the heart of Delhi, isn't it ridiculous to expect the poor to live off plastic money and a digital wallet for their daily needs. Well unless the intention is to starve them.

- Radhika Menon (from her Facebook post)

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