Did anyone tell the Delhi Metro Association that a lot of people stand in long metro queues with black money to recharge their metro cards?
Call me an idiot for drawing up this scenario, but the announcement that 10 Delhi metros are going to cashless from January 1st is quite uncanny. The announcement that this move has been made to encourage people to embrace cashless transaction has me in splits.
Nehru Place and Kailash Colony on the Violet Line, Rohini East and Rohini West on the Red Line, Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Nirman Vihar, Tilak Nagar, Janakpuri West, and Noida Sector-15 on the Blue Line, and MG Road Station on the Yellow Line are the lucky stations to make the cut.
The list of stations drawn up supposedly have 70% plus smart card users, therefore by leaving no other recharge or token purchase options other mobile wallets, they aim to boost transaction efficiency in these stations.
But wait a minute, they are also offering one, and I tell you, ONE cash counter for normal transactions.
No Modiji, you are no longer ‘encouraging’ us to ’embrace’. You are forcing the people to live their lives the way you want them to.
As a progressive university student who depends more on cashless transactions than cash, it is not hypocrisy for me to point out that the decision to jump from cash wallets to e-wallets within the window of a week is just bizarre. Okay, it takes not more than 5 minutes to set up a Paytm account, so what’s my big problem? A week is more than enough time, yes?
If our country has to go cashless, why does it have to avail just one particular way the government deems fit? Why ONLY Paytm to begin this initiative with? What kind of half baked cashless society do we want to become? Why is the government jumping ahead to modernize our society by restricting choices rather than diversifying them?
A society progresses when the culture is simplified for them. Instead, our culture is steadily moving towards a more restrictive system. This is the only way to do this. We have to stand up for the national anthem at movie screenings. We have to wait three hours in ATM lines for pretty pink notes nobody has change for. We have to pay taxes to fund huge Shivaji memorials. It’s heights of totalitarian thinking, seriously, the discursive trend of setting hard rules is typical of a mindset that is authoritarian rather than democratic.
Okay, I am not going to stretch this issue unrealistically. It isn’t that of a big deal. I am presuming that the 70% demography who travels through the ten metro lines have no issues regarding this. They would be more than happy to swipe right through the gates without queuing up. Sweet life, must feel very ‘modern’.
But, consider this: What if I have forgotten to recharge my Paytm? What if the Paytm app is malfunctioning (something that happens 70% of the time on my phone, by the way)? What about the meandering queues in front of the recharge machines? What if I don’t have netbanking or a card for Paytm access?! And why the hell should I pay extra convenience charges for availing my credit or debit card?
Albeit, it is not grave injustice to humanity if a few metro stations decides to go cashless on an experimental basis. It will serve to educate people about the virtues of using e-wallets, about how much easier it is to travel when don’t have to waste time standing in long queues. My problem is not with the decision really, it’s about the attitude. It’s irks me. It’s irking the people around me.
So please, don’t take us for granted. Please don’t be so random. We are not rats who will blindly follow the piper into the ocean.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.