Whenever a large society embarks on a great leap forward there will inevitably be some minor disturbance and teething problems. Narendra Modi’s brave, inspirational, plan to rapidly convert India from an obsolete paper money system to a cashless digital system has experienced some of these trivial, transition, irritations.
Most Indians are more than happy to put up with a few weeks of inconvenience – knowing that the new system will stamp out corruption and tax avoidance. The main resistance against moving to a digital system has come from those who are unpatriotic and have large stashes of ill-gotten black money. Also some land owning farmers have protested the move by disrupting the winter sowing season – bare in mind that this class has often resisted progressive change historically, so it is no surprise that some should do so this time. However, the large majority of law abiding Indian citizens are one hundred percent behind their enlightened leader’s drive for a cashless society.
In an uplifting radio announcement last weekend Modi once again called for a cashless economy: “Learn how this digital economy works. Learn the different ways you can use your bank accounts and internet banking. Learn how to effectively use the apps of various banks on your phones. Learn how to run your business without cash.” He then went on to say, “Learn about card payments and other electronic modes of payment. Look at the malls and see how they function. A cashless economy is secure, it is clean.” Wise words indeed.
It is believed that following a small (less than a percentage point) dip in GDP growth due to the minor agitation of change – India is likely to experience double digit gains in GDP once the new digital system is fully in place. So not only is a cashless system secure and clean, it is also a strong driver of growth. The rest of the world needs to take India’s lead and go cashless today.