The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation or the BMC has decided to go cashless in its public dealings. This move comes after government’s demonetization of Rs. 500 and 100 rupee notes. India's richest municipal body has plans to go completely cashless in phases within the next 6 months.
As a first step towards meeting this goal, the municipal body has made it mandatory for all their contractors to make payments to labourers through Real Time Gross Settlement or RTGS. BMC has over 15,000 labourers working for their various departments and projects. This move will ensure that the workers get their wages on time and without suffering harassment at the hands of the contractor.
As far as going cashless is concerned we have already started ensuring that the payments are just not made in cheques but we have gone beyond cheques and into RTG’s. We are now telling our contractors that if you are not paying via RTG’s we will not give payments and we have started that work already. A contractor coming to our office to collect a cheque leads to harassment and complaints”, says Ajoy Mehta, BMC Commissioner.
Along with this, there are several other measures that BMC plans to take to go cashless.
- It will move all its transactions online through RTGS and National Electronic Fund Transfer or NEFT.
- Currently, people pay their property tax, water and electricity bills, etc through cash. The online payment option which is available now for such payments will be made mandatory.
- BMC will eventually stop taking payments via cheque as well. It plans to develop a unified software for all such payments.
While this is set to bring a lot of transparency into the system experts advise some caution.
The payments which are made to obtain birth or death certificates hardly costs Rs. 30 or Rs. 40. Not everybody would have a card or cheque to make that kind of payments. And it is not feasible also. Therefore they should also keep a minimum limit where cash can be allowed . For any transaction which happens beyond Rs. 100 or Rs. 500 should move towards cashless”, says Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation.
To realise this ambition, Maharashtra's cash-rich municipal body will have to invest substantially in technology and manpower training. In doing so, BMC will set a precedent for urban local bodies across the country to follow.
Edited by Neetika Bajaj, Assistant Editor, NDTV
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