Can Coronavirus Stimulate India’s Journey towards a Cashless Economy?
“Necessity is the mother of invention”, it has been rightly said so. When you look back at historical moments and revolutionary changes you will observe a common pattern, most of these changes were needed at the moment. The Coronavirus outbreak has shaken economies across the globe but it has also exposed the vulnerabilities of modern economies and how unprepared we are to handle an outbreak like this. This time it is not just limited to poor or developing economies and third-world countries but it has also devastated developed economies like the US, UK, Germany, etc.
However, you’ll be surprised to know that a global pandemic has even some pros attached to it, some macro-economic benefits for the whole society like pollution reduction and environmental conservation. In addition to this, it has forced us to change the way we operate. With the lockdown situation in major cities, people are forced to indulge in online purchase of goods for their needs. This has given a major push to the cashless payment system in India and the digital economy.
The government of India has also urged the citizens to take precautionary measures to help avoid the spread of this deadly virus. A switch to digital mode of payments to avoid the spread of the virus is a rudimentary measure that people should take to stay safe. Physical exchange of currency notes could escalate the spread of this virus. Also, visiting bank branches in the vicinity could put people in danger and increase the risk of spread, availing internet or mobile banking services has been a necessity in the contemporary scenario.
The proliferation of e-commerce has also been significant as more people are buying their groceries and daily-use products using the online stores in the wake of this crisis. This will eventually lead to a change in customer behaviour and help to further stimulate India’s journey towards a cashless economy. Earlier, the demonetisation scheme had given a push to the cashless ecosystem in India as people were suddenly out of options and had to switch to digital banking services.
One of the main challenges that lie ahead in this journey is bringing people of economically backward sections to the digital consumer base. Given their lack of awareness about digital services and nominal income, they are out of this equation. Educating them on how to operate digital products and how to avail the benefits of the same holds the key to driving a large chunk of the population towards the digital economy.
The article aims to edify the reader on how the contemporary coronavirus outbreak has led to the growth and adoption of digital services that have stimulated India’s growth towards a cashless economy.