Co-Existence of Cash and Digital – the Key to Financial Inclusion Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
By Ravi B. Goyal
The wide spread of Covid-19 has left no country unscathed, pushing the world into shackles of economic instability. To curb the spread of Coronavirus, India’s Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown starting 23rd March, 2020 and which has now entered into the fourth stage aka Lockdown 4.0. This lockdown, while a necessary measure, has challenged many businesses to change their status-quo and adapt newer business models.
In these critical times, the Government & Regulatory Bodies like National Payment Corporation (NPCI) of India have urged people to opt for digital or contactless payments. There were two main reasons for this. Firstly, using digital payments would reduce social/physical movement of people and secondly it will minimise any possible risk of spreading virus via cards or ATMs.
As a result, many people came under the ambit of Digital India and the existing users have increased their usage of digital payments. According to a report by Local Circles, 42% Indians have amplified their use of digital modes for payments in lockdown period. Ever since Remonetisation, India’s financial outlook has been towards inclusion. To aid this, the Reserve Bank of India’s Nandan Nilekani committee introduced various initiatives to deepen the penetration of digital payments in India. As a result, the country possesses a strong payment infrastructure to support the surge in digital payments. This transition from cash to digital was a quite seamless one – well for most citizens.
Photo courtesy of rupixen.