As we in India celebrated New Year’s Eve, 2016, it wasn’t lost on anyone that the magnitude of the withdrawal of 86% currency in circulation on India and the world, would be analyzed and felt for a long time to come. We turned into hear PM Modi’s address
to the nation on NYE- Thanking its citizens and announcing a slew of lost cost housing incentives to begin 2017.
While India and the Impact of Demonetisation continued to hog headlines even after Dec 31st 2016, including in the just concluded World Economic Forum at
Davos, the overall sentiment has swung like a pendulum between those hailing the move as revolutionary while others labeling it as a disaster.
India, however, being at the cusp of a major growth phase has since become a case study to analyse the impact that demonetisation will have both in the short term and long term vis-a-vis economic growth, switch to cashless behavior and curbing a thriving
parallel gray market.
Globally, anywhere else, there has been almost no disruption in payments and financial systems as #DeMo has been. An unprecedented move in the largest democracy in the world has largely been peaceful and triggered nationalist sentiment as the primary reason
for the mass support. Hence, In my view the greatest disruption in Digital anywhere in the world in 2016 has been in India and here are 3 reasons I believe makes #DeMo the winner
1. Strong Policy and Regulatory Support by Government of India (GOI)
a) The finance ministry on 8th Dec, 2016 announced an Incentive Package for Promotion of a Digital and Cashless Economy thereby motivating Indians to adopt
cashless transaction methods. Interestingly, each measure was carefully crafted to target consumers in the biggest expenditure and growth channels for electronic payments such as: Fuel and Rail Tickets.
b) Promoting Merchant Acceptance by removing ~16.5% excise duty on POS machines
c) Setting targets for POS deployment with top acquirers in the country followed up with careful monitoring
d) No service fees/service tax on Digital transactions less than 2000 INR
Spot professionalism, diligence and long term commitment? Very unlike a government and almost in startup mode, is how many perceive this.
2. Demographic Dividend of Young India Adopting a Digital Lifestyle
a) Nearly 54% of India is less than 25 years old while 27.6% is in the age group of 25-44
b) India is the 2nd largest smartphone market and
c) ‘Digital India’ continues to lay the ground to a more connected population
With digital being introduced, marketed and incentivised, a consumer behavior shift and adoption is highly achievable. There are more than enough barriers to digital adoption in India also, hence, it will be interesting to see how these are overcome with
3. Digital Literacy Drive, Digital Payments Helpline and Lucky Draw
a) The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) started a new campaign called Digi Dhan Abhiyan to promote cashless transactions by enabling every citizen, small trader and merchant to learn about digital payments.
b) A helpline number 14444 is also set up to answer queries with trained customer service personnel available.
c) The sweetest move however is the lottery with weekly & quarterly winners getting sums ranging from 1000 INR to 10 Million INR
These consistent efforts to mobilise masses through education will go a long way to underline the ease and convenience of digital payments leading to increased trust and adoption of cashless methods for payment.
Do you agree with my assessment? Would love to hear your feedback.
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