This report on CSES study was published in The Hindu on 08.01.2017
Education a major factor in the use of cashless facilities
More than 90 per cent of the rural population in Ernakulam district have not carried out cashless transaction in their lifetime. Only 1.6 per cent of the population have been making such transactions after the November 8 demonetisation of high-value currency notes, according to a study conducted on three panchayats in the district by the city-based Centre for Socio Economic and Environmental Studies.
Ironically, Ernakulam is the first district in the country to achieve universal literacy. It is also India’s first financially inclusive district.
The study, conducted by the end of December, covered Asamannoor, Pallippuram, and Maneed panchayats and involved 500 randomly selected adults. The individuals were interviewed to reflect the gender and age make-up of the group.
It showed that people from socially and economically backward sections were far behind the financially better-off groups in undertaking cashless transactions. Only three per cent people of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category used cashless facilities at least once in their lifetime, whereas it is 13 per cent in the Above Poverty Line (APL) category, the study said.
Only five per cent of respondents from SC/ST communities have used cashless facilities, while 10.3 per cent of those from other categories have done cashless transactions. Only 6.5 per cent of women respondents reported usage of cashless facilities, whereas it was 12 per cent among men, it added.
According to the study, employees of government and non-government institutions, self-employed / businessmen, and students were at the forefront of cashless transactions. A few among daily wage labourers and home-makers, who formed majority of those who were surveyed, ever made any cashless transaction.
Only two per cent of daily-wage earners did digital transactions at least once, while 30 per cent of employees in other sectors used the facility. Thirty per cent of students were found to have used cashless facilities, whereas only 2.6 per cent of home-makers used them.
The study also showed that 7.1 per cent of farmers and 12.3 per cent of the total self-employed / businessmen made cashless transactions. No one in the retired category used the facility. The study found education a major factor in the use of cashless facilities.