BMC chief Ajoy Mehta says Mumbai civic body aims to go cashless in 60 days

At a time when the nation is dealing with demonetisation and the subsequent cash crunch, a quiet cashless revolution is unfolding at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is aiming to go completely cashless in about 60 days from now. To facilitate the transition, the BMC is developing an in-house software, said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta in an exclusive interaction with Firstpost on Thursday.

The municipal corporation has been working on this transition for about two months, which is aimed at putting an end to the harassment faced by contract workers. “We have been getting complaints that contractors do not pay the designated minimum wages to their workers. That was the main trigger that led us to say that we will pay the contractor provided they pay their workers through RTGS,” Mehta said.

The move is also prompted by complaints from contractors as well, Mehta said. “There have been complaints that when contractors come to collect cheques, they are subjected to harassment. This move will also change the problem,” he said.

The BMC directly employs about one and half lakh people and provides indirect employment to about 70,000 contract workers. There won’t be any major cost pressure for the corporation to go cashless, the municipal commissioner said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 8 November, announced one of the biggest demonetidation exercises ever carried out in the country. Besides clamping down on the black money hoarders and counterfeit note makers, the exercise was also aimed at pushing the system to a cashless mode by encouraging payments through mobile banking, internet banking and using technology that facilitates prepayment instruments. Almost 70-80 percent of India is living in cash economy.

The demonetisation move resulted in cash crunch across the country since the banking system is short of cash on account of the sudden withdrawal of a substantial chunk of currency, which constituted 86 percent of the total currency in circulation in terms of value.

Mehta said the cash crunch, however, hasn’t made any operational difficulties for the corporation since the corporation mostly operates on cheques.

(With inputs from Dinesh Unnikrishnan)

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Updated Date: Dec 01, 2016 21:03:52 IST