India’s own cab aggregator company Ola has reportedly joined hands with Indian banks like SBI and PNB to help dispense cash during the current demonetisation crisis. The citizens can now withdraw cash by swiping debit cards at select Ola cabs. The project has been introduced on test basis in Kolkata and Hyderabad. In Kolkata, Ola has partnered with Punjab National Bank (PNB), while in Hyderabad, it has collaborated with SBI and Andhra Bank.
The Ola cabs, with a bank officer and POS machines, have been parked at busiest locations of the cities, with the maximum limit to dispense INR 2000 per card. There are also plans to make the cash withdrawal available on-the-go rather than being parked at a particular point. Ola Chief Operating Officer Pranay Jivrajka said,
“The week-long activity, that is already servicing thousands of citizens, will continue till end of the month. It (cabs) will visit areas like Chandni Chowk Metro Station, Esplanade Metro, Barabazaar, Salt Lake, Exide and Rashbehari in Kolkata and KBR Park, JNTU, Inorbit Mall in Hyderabad.”
He further revealed that there are plans to introduce the service in other cities as well including Delhi. To help banks and ATM’s cope up with the massive crowd for availing new currency, earlier POS machines were also installed at 3,700 petrol pumps. Also, many startups like CashNoCash and BookMYChotu, etc., have attempted to ease out the problems of the citizens in this time of crisis.
Although, the first few weeks brought in a lot of chaos, looks like people have gradually adapted to the change. People have been heavily using all kinds of e- wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik to make payments everywhere from retail stores to ‘chai-walas’. Where Ola has claimed a 1500% growth in recharge of its digital wallet, Ola Money. Paytm also registered 1000% jump in add-to-cash transactions within 24 hours of the announcement. Does all this indicate that alteast the urban population is moving towards a cashless economy? Let’s wait and watch!