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No ATMs, No Network: How Villages in North K’taka Went ‘Cashless’

ATMs that are miles away and no connectivity: the inside story of the remotest villages that are going ‘cashless’.

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India
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Demonetisation and the government’s subsequent push has boosted cashless payments. But what about those living in the remotest of villages, disconnected from the country’s digital revolution?

A case in point are the hamlets in the poorest parts of northern Karnataka. Plagued by drought and farmer suicides, the villages have no banks and internet connectivity. The barter system still thrives here. In thousand of such villages, demonetisation has exposed the challenges and reality of PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India dream.

In August 2014, the government announced the Digital India initiative. Under it, Rs.1.13 trillion were to be spent over the next three to five years to provide internet connections to all citizens.

The National Broadband Plan was the most ambitious feature of the Digital India programme. It aimed at connecting 2,50,000 village councils at a cost of Rs. 27,000 crore by December 2016. In March 2015, the project missed its first deadline of covering 59,000 villages under phase 1.

Demonetisation has now further exposed how much still needs to be done in villages across India. Watch The Quint’s ground report from North Karnataka.

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  India   KARNATAKA   Digital India 

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