"I just paid 50 bucks to that boy... was parking my bike under 'No Parking'", "Oh come on man, no need to wait here, just pay 300 to that guy and get the ticket. I can't come again to see this movie", "You know something, I paid 8 Lakhs for my teaching job and i am going to demand 25 Lakhs as dowry", "This is the last seat, pay 50,000 donation now or wait till next year to admit your son in this school", "Hi dude this is original but we can't give bill. if you go to that shop you need to pay 10000 for the handset", "Why you want bill for these ornaments? You can save 25000", "Good job man, you cooked up 50 Lakhs this year, will get you a surprise gift", "Paid 150K to that guy, he was sleeping on that file for 2 weeks". It is really painful to hear this from our fellow India citizens, right ?
For the last 50+ years, we have been constantly debating on these social issues. We have sorted out some of the reasons for corruption but still it corruption can be observed across government/semi government/provate offices/public life. There are lot of discussions happening on this topic and so far many Indian or International researchers would have obtained PhD on this. But still we don't have a clear cut idea on how to stop it or how to fight against corruption. We have not reached anywhere near a corruption free society. Many ideal and responsible officers and politicians have been trying to control corruption but still it is a reality in India.
In this context, I would like to present an idea which stops corruption and resolve plenty of other social troubles.
Go for digital cash and stop printing currency
If we can stop printing currency and coins, it would be a revolutionary attempt to save our country. This can make India, free of corruption and accelarate our transition towards ‘developed country’ status.
You might be thinking this as illogical or quite impossible. The same sort of thought process would have happened when ATMs or eBanking started just by replacing traditional processes.
Today we are using debit/credit card to purchase online or offline, to transfer money etc. We are quite comfortable with that and more people are going to use this facility in coming days. So it is achievable and the possible challenge would be to launch digital currency, country wide with special care to cater needs of rural masses, illiterate people and people those who are differentially able.
To achieve corruption free india through digital cash, we may need to do all these or more
1. Make bank account mandatory for all citizens
2. Stop printing cash and coins. Digitise existing paper currency and coins like DEMAT
3. Ban buying/selling using paper currency or coins after giving enough time for digitisation
4. Make source of income mandatory to perform digitisation and in the absence of source, that money needs to be considered as black money
5. Issue cashcards (refillable) to all account holders with guidelines in regional language too
6. Convert existing ATMs as self service kiosks [ account to account or account to cashcard transfers, statements etc].
7. Start more low cost self service kiosks across India which provide easy access to citizens
8. Make Registration/license and bank account with point of sale softpay facility as mandatory to do any business/service, irrespective of scale of business.
9. Provide low cost point of sale softpay facilities [card/cash payment] in which seller can generate a bill and customer can swipe and pay any small amount.
10. Make billing mandatory for any sale irrespective of amount.
11. Make source of money and purpose of purchase/sale in bill, mandatory if sale/purchase value exceeds certain amount.
12. Provide wireless point of sale soft pay facility to cabs/taxi/autorikshaw service and similar kind of services.
13. Provide ticket vending machine with point of sale soft pay facility to city/rural transport services
14. Ensure highlevel security to cash/credit card and online transactions. This need to be ensured with pin, thumb impression, retina scanner etc. Also ensure extra security levels, transaction amount wise.
15. Provide special purpose cards with adequate security measures to old aged, illiterates and differentially abled people.
Bribing will lose its charm. How do you receive/give bribe? No cah in suitcase or in nearby shop or relative's house or secretary's car. You can't ask somebody to transfer to your account or pay your bills. All transactions, bills can be monitored and recorded. Still there is a possibility of buying a product/service and gift to another person, just to bribe that person. But there is a limit for this and the person who has accepted the gift will be in a very difficult position to dispose it off. Registration is mandatory to sell something and you will be caught if you are not a genuine seller. So you can't sell it legally but can go for Barter system!. During an IT/ investigation raid, it will not be that much easy to give reasons for all those gifts accepted. Your assets, digital cash, earnings etc should matched at any point of time and rest of the things can be considered as illegal by Government. When everything go digital, total net worth of any citizen would be available with Government and nobody can keep crores of rupees in water tank or in caves. That game is over.
Child labor, bonded labor, employing contract/badlis by showing minimum wage only in records will be stopped. Employer can't pay employee something and send them away. Salary can be paid through bank accounts only and this will make the job of Labor Inspectors and Government machineries easy. No county can ban our products with the reason that we are employing child/bonded labour.
Sales/service/income tax calculations will be 100% correct. No tax evasions is possible because you will not be able to receive money through a secret transaction through any other channel. Bribing is out of the question. Shop owners needs to keep accurate records for stock, they can't increase the price unnecessarily because bill will become mandatory for all sale transactions.
There can be sharp decline on street vendors or rag pickers. I would say it is good for future of India. Do we need our kids to become school dropouts and start working in the so called unorganized sector? I would say No. If we discourage odd jobs in unorganized sector, obviously more employment opportunities will be created in organized sector. Bonus would be 100% literacy, make people motivated to go for proper education and highly skilled and professional workforce.
By making billing mandatory for sale and cash transaction, 99% consumer exploitations can be avoided. Quality of products/services will be improved.
Sale of banned drugs, illicit liquor, smuggled goods, Grey market stuff and sex trade can be reduced to some extend. There is a possibility that people those who are in illicit business can open bank account and register business for some other purpose and continue their illicit business but Government/ other statutory bodies can easily trace the roots and find the culprits. Citizens too will change their life style. How many of us will become comfortable in swiping our cash card or credit card for payment towards buying a banned product/illicit service. The fear factor 'can be caught later with the bank transaction record'n will work here.
Now you may point out another loophole that citizen can accept cash in any other country for illegal activities or corruption in India. Yes, this can happen untill and unless other countries too moves completely to digital currency. When the country march against corruption united, this is not going to happen so easily and I am not thinking that to receive 10,000 rupees, somebody will open an account in switzerland. End of the day they need to go out of country to spend that money because they can't transfer that money to India. RBI can crack it.
Another possible good outcome through digital cash would be abolishion of existing black money in country. Banks can reject digitization of cash if the source of income is not there or not genuine. Sale/Transfer of assets too can be blocked [because you can't simply accept cash, need to provide bank account!]
Billions worth black money can we wiped away and this will discourage people to crave for that money. People will invest money in business in an organized manner and business environment will become more professional. Once country's economy is improved, definitely more investment can be attracted and this in tern will improve our infrastructure, standard living and overall economy iself.
End of the day, common public will criticise bureaucrats or politicians for all sorts of social troubles. But can we point our fingures to politicians or bureaucrats for all these troubles?. I would say 'No', every single citizen in India is responsible for best and worst in our country. We need to act. We should be able to do social campaigning for the development of India and eventually a social opinion should be evolved.
So what do you think about digital currency? Come up with advantages, disadvantages or challenges on this if paper currency is replaced with digital currency. Please write your feedback, share this idea to your friends, relatives and seek their opinion too.
Disclaimer :- Kindly note that this is expression of an idea based on beliefs and perception of author. Media reports, day to day observations, scams in public life, personal experiences etc would have been influenced that. This is visualisation of a solution and possibilies of technology and not based on any research, statistical analysis or authentic studies.