Begin typing your search...

How UPI driving progress in India

People from all walks of life, including street vendors and auto rickshaw drivers, are using UPI for easy and convenient transactions

How UPI driving progress in India

India leads the world in digital payment usage, but there's a gap - large transactions like real estate deals still heavily rely on cash, hindering tax collection. Despite this challenge, digital innovations like UPI and GPS navigation are empowering people and promoting financial inclusion

In our REC (Regional Engineering College, the present NIT) days, the cashier at the college was demanding an exact amount to be given to him against the college fees. Many times, he did not have the required change to be returned to the student. In this process either he was losing or gaining small amounts. We used to call him 'a man with no change'.

One apparent effect of digital innovation in our country, even in rural areas where mobile signals are available, is UPI payments. Everybody, even those with less educational background, are making use of digital payments with ease. Footpath sellers, push cart vegetable vendors, auto wallas, shoes polish persons are fully utilising this facility. They are proudly displaying their UPI QR code and also got speakers installed at their outlets to announce that so much payment is received, whenever the customer pays through UPI. I saw one vegetable vendor displaying QR code stuck on the back of a bowl placed on the weighing scale! On the other day the medical shop person owed me Rs 2. As he was not having the change, he transferred Rs 2 through UPI channel. I had to give one auto wallah Rs 10. I transferred the money in a similar way to him. No hassle of lack of 'change' or carrying cash as payment mode has changed from cash to digital now. No one needs to lose money now because of the non availability of change. KSRTC is jumping on the bandwagon soon. It is shortly introducing a cashless payment system in their buses. While women can travel free, men can, at least, travel cashfree in these buses! As a bus passenger, I remember the bus conductor scribbling the amount of change to be returned to me on the back of the ticket which had to be claimed at the destination!

My father was very meticulously maintaining an account for household expenses and was keeping track of all transactions. Every night he was tallying the cash available with the cash balance as per the account. Sometimes when the account was not tallying, he was struggling to recollect the expenses incurred on that day and asking my mother if she had spent any money for purchasing vegetables etc. He was not sleeping till the cash balance tallied. During his days UPI payment mode was not there! I inculcate the habit of maintaining the household expenses account from him. Since all my expenses are through Google pay/ Phone pay, tallying the account is not a big deal for me.

India has become the world's highest user of digital payments. UPI is a great contribution by the fintech community and India is leveraging it significantly. While small ticket transactions have gone digital, unfortunately big ticket transactions continue to see huge cash transactions, evading tax liabilities. This is disappointing and wide-spread in India specifically in real estate transactions. No amount of effort by policy makers and digital innovation is helping in bringing down this menace.

Navigation through GPS is another digital innovation used by vehicle drivers irrespective of their educational background. Through the 4G saturation project, BSNL is providing 4G signals in remote villages, facilitating the people there to enjoy the fruits of digital innovations, especially digital payments.

No wonder that this year, ITU has chosen the theme for World Telecom and Information Society Day (which will be celebrated on May 17, 2024), as ‘The power of digital innovation in advancing sustainable development and prosperity for all'.

L Anantharam
Next Story
Share it