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How E-Banking Helped India’s First Digital Village Handle Demonetization without a Wrinkle

While several people across the country are struggling to withdraw money and exchange Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes from banks after the demonetization, one village in Gujarat is handling the situation in a hassle-free manner – all thanks to digitization. Going cashless is nothing new for Akodara, India’s first digital village where all 220 families have e-banking facility. And residents use it for everything – right from buying milk and vegetables to bread and eggs. Their phones are linked to their bank accounts and they make instant transactions using the village WiFi.

Located about 90 km from Ahmedabad, in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, the village has a population of 1,200 and was adopted by ICICI bank as a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India campaign.


Picture for representation only. Source: Meena Kadri/Flickr

Manilala Prajapati, a cable operator in the village, collects his monthly rent from residents using internet banking. Users just have to send an SMS to the bank after typing three followed by his mobile number, the amount to be transferred and the last six digits of their account numbers.

“Like the rest of Indians, we are not worried about depositing or exchanging cash. All the adults here have bank accounts linked to their Aadhar numbers. As all the transactions at markets, milk cooperatives, shops and even vegetable vendors here are cashless, we withdraw cash only when we have to go outside the village,” J S Patel, a farmer, told Hindustan Times.

The village grocer is accepting payments through e-banking for any sale above Rs. 10. The local dairy cooperative has also stopped paying farmers in cash since the last year and transfers directly to their bank accounts. As all the villagers have their accounts linked to their Aadhar cards, government benefits are also transferred directly into their savings accounts.

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