Visaka at IIMN

Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan (VISAKA)- IIM Nagpur

IIM Nagpur has taken its first step forward of spreading awareness for adopting digital payments systems as part of the campaign – VISAKA (Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Plan

Ummeed: The Community Outreach Club at IIM Nagpur has taken up this the responsibility of spreading awareness as part of this initiative. Ummeed believes that word of mouth awareness spreading is the best medium to spread awareness of this initiative and we have already taken baby steps towards our goal of making people aware of the benefits and ways of going digital. We also believe that the initiative needs to be started from the grass root level which involves spreading awareness among the tea stalls, fast food joints which are present in plenty in and around the college campus.

We are also targeting pharmacy shops wherein there is no way to pay through the digital medium and are working primarily on cash basis. Encouraging the local pharmacies to start accepting payments through the digital media will be the prime focus of our campaign. Another focus point for spreading awareness as the Ummeed Team envisions, is to approach the market areas of Dhantoli, Dharampeth and Sitabuldi and let them know the benefits and the ease with which the cashless payments could be done and accepted.

Spreading the word through our peers in the management institute will also prove beneficial so that they can help spread awareness among their close family/ friends circle. The team at IIM Nagpur has already started spreading the word among their peers and have seen enthusiastic involvement of the students who have pledged to spread the word among their near and dear ones.

The administrative department at IIM Nagpur, who were accepting Demand Draft for term fee payments have already put forth a process of online fee payment from the forthcoming term and are taking steps to make the campus completely digital. In line with this motto, the mess contractor has also initiated a process wherein online payments are accepted, and encouraged, for the monthly mess charges. This also includes payments for the night canteen facility provided by the contractor. To take this initiative further, talks are going on with the in-house laundry shop at the campus to go cashless and the team has already seen encouraging results from them.

Hurdles

The team has observed some hurdles while working on this initiative that include unwillingness of the local shops and vendors to go cashless assuming that it would hamper their day-to-day business. They are also of the view that not many people use cashless methods of transactions which makes it difficult for them to adopt this. The team has been encouraging such people by suggesting them to start with this venture of promoting digital economy and slowly spread the word among the customers to go cashless by showcasing this facility being available at the shop.

A few people are of the view that this initiative would not work in a tier2 city like Nagpur wherein it is the general perception of the such small businessmen that it is only the metro cities wherein this will work owing to a very large young working population in those cities. They are of the opinion that middle-aged and elderly people still perceive physical money to me more important than digital and they refrain from doing payments via digital media. The team is trying to break free of such perception among the businessmen so that they can adopt accepting digital payments as well.

Suggestions

Based on the feedback and our experience, the Ummeed team believes that there should be a comprehensive marketing plan from the Government of India so as to promote this by bringing about ad-campaigns. This will have a direct connect with the households due to large population in India having an access to television. Another mode of promoting this campaign is to air radio advertisements since radio channels cater to a large segment of the society.

The government can reach out to the banks to start offering RuPay card to all the bank account holders without the customer requesting for the same. The feasibility of this solution can be checked by meeting with the banks and charting out a plan to go about it.

Future Course of Action

Ummeed, the community outreach club at IIM Nagpur, plans to spread this awareness campaign even post 12th of January over the coming year and not to make it just a one-time campaign. We believe that this initiative requires consistent efforts to be put in in order to imbibe this idea of going cashless among the masses.