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Digital Dreams – Economics 101

With the government’s push towards digitisation, there is an increasing need for its citizens to be able to handle the transition to a cashless society.  With Economics 101, The Economics & Finance Society of Manipal, on the 27th of February, pitched in to further this cause under the Union HRD Ministry’s VISAKA scheme.

Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan, or VISAKA, is a scheme to encourage students to take forward the Centre’s financial literacy campaign. Ninety-two percent of the world’s cash may be digital, but India still uses physical cash for sixty-eight percent of its transactions. Treasurers and other representatives of several of MIT’s clubs attended this session, many at the urging of Associate Director of Student Welfare, Dr Narayan Shenoy, who wished for the clubs to shift to cashless transactions.

It is not because of a lack of options, but a lack of knowledge of these options, that physical cash still dominates our market. Rahul Bansal, the speaker for the evening, explained that while it was possible to use a Manipal University account for club financials, it was not a popular method due to it being a slow process. In fact, a quick question to the audience revealed that nobody there knew about the procedures for this. With VISAKA however, he said, this could become a faster, and thereby a more viable option.

Bansal conducted the session with fluency. The presentation covered various means of digital banking, like Unified Payments Interface(UPA) and PayTM. The little-understood cryptographic currency, Bitcoin, was also talked about. A smart-phone and an internet connection are usually thought to be the requisites for digital banking, but this notion was changed with the discussion of USSD and Prepaid cards.

Apart from the clubs, ESOM also sought to train local vendors and business proprietors in order to make the change. They had distributed pamphlets amongst them to draw them to the event, but with none of them showing up, their efforts, and the Kannada version of the presentation they had prepared, were in vain. However, their endeavours to educate students must be applauded.

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