"The process of demonetisation was aimed at addressing multi-dimensional objectives such as black money, terrorism, counterfeit currency, unorganised labour, digital push, and many other areas,” said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines.
The minister spoke at the Digital Economy Forum, where he addressed questions related to the transition to a less-cash economy, a post-demonetisation government plan. The minister is one of the key people in the government to have been given the responsibility for this transition.
When asked about the digital payment machines which pose a major impediment to digital growth, he said the government is doing everything to ramp up the process of setting up more PoS machines across the country.
As per initial estimates by the finance ministry, the number of PoS machines across the country is around 14 lakh. According to media reports, banks are expected to add another 10 lakh PoS devices by March-end.
Goyal, however, added that as technology unfolds, he sees smartphones replacing all other payment methods. He feels every home will have smartphone-enabled payment machines.
When the reach of internet connectivity and specifically digital education was brought up, the minister said that the government has been committed to solving these issues since taking office.
“The telecom companies have confirmed that spectrum is no more an issue. And this has widely helped telecom companies to spread their reach in every part of the country,” Goyal said.
Quoting inputs from banks, the minister said that the growth in digital transactions has increased by 300 percent in the past one month. And of all the transactions, urban cities have witnessed the largest share of the digital payment mode.
When asked about the education level regarding the digital mode of transaction in villages, Goyal said it is more a matter of habit than anything else. We had the same apprehension about smartphones but now they’re being used by everyone.
“I believe that the digital mode of transaction will also be adopted gradually across the country. And I see a huge benefit for people who transact through the digital way as they will be able to keep track of every penny they spend. Besides, once the Aadhaar-enabled payment system is fully introduced, the security issue will also be largely addressed,” said the minister.