India’s Cashless Economy and Digital Transformation | You Should Listen To This

October 4th, 2017

Topics: Consumerization of IT Culture Customer eCommerce Enterprise IT Future of Work

What would happen to our society if tomorrow, 90% of banknotes were pulled and rendered defunct? What would cause this sudden shift? What new challenges would the country face? And what outcome could the country hope for?

This is what happened on November 8th of last year when India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, called for rapid demonetization. This move was seen as a radical solution to some of India’s biggest, most complicated diseases – corruption and poverty. Modi hoped the move to a cashless society would tackle the issues of ‘Black Money’ and reduce the exchange of undocumented, untaxed cash. On tackling poverty, the prime minister sought to push the majority of Indian people to join the banking system, and in the process, help the poor of India.

This two-part series on NPR’s Planet Money explores the ongoing challenges of India’s shift to a cashless society. You should listen to this not only to hear the perplexing story of Anil Bokil, nicknamed ‘Guru Uncle,’ who first drew up the economic plan through an animated PowerPoint, and went on to present to the Prime Minister of the country, but also to learn about the innovative technological advances the country is pushing to drive prosperity through the hardship of transition. The short video below goes beyond the narrative of these two NPR episodes and shows how companies are transforming digital payment platforms on a rapid scale.

The economic shakeup has driven India’s digital economy to an incredible scope, with business at companies such a PayTM jumping more than 400% in the hours after the November 8th speech. In just 8 months, the company has registered more than 220 million people, and advanced 40-50 thousand vendors and merchants every day.

This new sector of India’s economy is continuing to grow and adapt to new challenges, yet provides a fascinating insight into the future of digital transactions and adapting economies.

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