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State Govt outlines action plan to go digital

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Nov 29 - The State Government today outlined an action plan for shifting both the government and non-government expenditure to a digital and cashless payment mode in the post-demonetisation period.

Addressing a press conference here, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Transport, and Parliamentary Affairs Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the RBI has released new currency notes worth Rs 7,027 crore to Assam since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced. He also added that 70 per cent of the ATMs in the State are fully functional and work is on to make the remaining 30 per cent operational after recalibration within a short time.

Patowary said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has held a meeting with officials from the RBI, major banks, BSNL and various departments of the State Government, and decided to implement certain measures so that digital payment can be �a way of life� in Assam within a short period. As per the plan, all payments and receipts in the State Government will be made digital in a time-bound manner.

As regards non-governmental entities like private hospitals, educational institutions, shops and establishments, the concerned departments would issue necessary advisory or directions so that digital payment becomes a norm within a fixed time frame.

Departments will also examine the possibility of amending relevant Acts and Rules so that enablers for digital payment such as availability of point of sale (PoS) machine, etc., will be made compulsory and they will also explore the possible incentives for digital payments and disincentives for cash payments.

Patowary said that BSNL and IT department will work out the �dark/shadow areas� and address the issue in a time-bound manner to improve connectivity.

Besides, the Central government has been requested to issue requisite notification to allow the regional rural banks and Cooperative Apex Bank, Assam to operate internet banking so that their more than 550 branches can add to the digital campaign and to amend the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 so that receipt and payment of wages can be made digitally.

The State has also sought the Centre�s cooperation so that all �online transfers/payments/receipts� may be made without any charges so that it acts as an incentive for the users to shift to digital payment from cash payment.

It has also sought help so that all representatives of gaon panchayats and urban local bodies up to ward members may be sensitised about the advantages of digital payment and banks and the concerned department will take up this in a mission mode through a committee at the district level under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner.

The State Government, in coordination with banks and all stakeholders, will initiate a mission mode campaign, including use of social media, so that the common man participates in the process of digital payment easily and effectively.

The minister added that as the tea garden workers are usually paid their periodical wages, weekly or fortnightly, in cash, none of the 10 lakh workers in tea gardens registered and affiliated to various tea associations is getting their wages through digital payments. In addition, there are about 15 lakh additional workers in the unorganised or informal tea gardens and they are also receiving wages in cash only.

Patowary said that in this regard the Chief Minister has held a series of meetings with all stakeholders of tea sector in the State like the tea associations, labour associations, banks, RBI and the Labour department and an action plan has been taken up to ensure 100 per cent digital payment in the tea gardens.

As per the action plan, the garden management will prepare a list of employees and workers without bank accounts and submit the list to the service area bank, which in turn will open Jan Dhan accounts by arranging camps on the premises of tea gardens. The process is to be completed by December 5 so that the wages for the week starting from December 5 can be paid through bank account by December 10.

�The tea garden management will provide space for installation of ATMs on their premises, wherever it is feasible... The bankers will also explore all possible measures for dispensing the cash through banking correspondents, ATMs, mini-ATMs, etc.� the minister said.

Patowary said that all concerned have been asked to prepare themselves for the alternate and permanent arrangement as the currently followed interim arrangement of cash payment through government account will not continue beyond December 5. He added that the Urban Development department is also preparing an action plan to ensure that all urban local bodies started cashless transactions by March 31, 2017.

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State Govt outlines action plan to go digital

GUWAHATI, Nov 29 - The State Government today outlined an action plan for shifting both the government and non-government expenditure to a digital and cashless payment mode in the post-demonetisation period.

Addressing a press conference here, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Transport, and Parliamentary Affairs Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the RBI has released new currency notes worth Rs 7,027 crore to Assam since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced. He also added that 70 per cent of the ATMs in the State are fully functional and work is on to make the remaining 30 per cent operational after recalibration within a short time.

Patowary said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has held a meeting with officials from the RBI, major banks, BSNL and various departments of the State Government, and decided to implement certain measures so that digital payment can be �a way of life� in Assam within a short period. As per the plan, all payments and receipts in the State Government will be made digital in a time-bound manner.

As regards non-governmental entities like private hospitals, educational institutions, shops and establishments, the concerned departments would issue necessary advisory or directions so that digital payment becomes a norm within a fixed time frame.

Departments will also examine the possibility of amending relevant Acts and Rules so that enablers for digital payment such as availability of point of sale (PoS) machine, etc., will be made compulsory and they will also explore the possible incentives for digital payments and disincentives for cash payments.

Patowary said that BSNL and IT department will work out the �dark/shadow areas� and address the issue in a time-bound manner to improve connectivity.

Besides, the Central government has been requested to issue requisite notification to allow the regional rural banks and Cooperative Apex Bank, Assam to operate internet banking so that their more than 550 branches can add to the digital campaign and to amend the Section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 so that receipt and payment of wages can be made digitally.

The State has also sought the Centre�s cooperation so that all �online transfers/payments/receipts� may be made without any charges so that it acts as an incentive for the users to shift to digital payment from cash payment.

It has also sought help so that all representatives of gaon panchayats and urban local bodies up to ward members may be sensitised about the advantages of digital payment and banks and the concerned department will take up this in a mission mode through a committee at the district level under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner.

The State Government, in coordination with banks and all stakeholders, will initiate a mission mode campaign, including use of social media, so that the common man participates in the process of digital payment easily and effectively.

The minister added that as the tea garden workers are usually paid their periodical wages, weekly or fortnightly, in cash, none of the 10 lakh workers in tea gardens registered and affiliated to various tea associations is getting their wages through digital payments. In addition, there are about 15 lakh additional workers in the unorganised or informal tea gardens and they are also receiving wages in cash only.

Patowary said that in this regard the Chief Minister has held a series of meetings with all stakeholders of tea sector in the State like the tea associations, labour associations, banks, RBI and the Labour department and an action plan has been taken up to ensure 100 per cent digital payment in the tea gardens.

As per the action plan, the garden management will prepare a list of employees and workers without bank accounts and submit the list to the service area bank, which in turn will open Jan Dhan accounts by arranging camps on the premises of tea gardens. The process is to be completed by December 5 so that the wages for the week starting from December 5 can be paid through bank account by December 10.

�The tea garden management will provide space for installation of ATMs on their premises, wherever it is feasible... The bankers will also explore all possible measures for dispensing the cash through banking correspondents, ATMs, mini-ATMs, etc.� the minister said.

Patowary said that all concerned have been asked to prepare themselves for the alternate and permanent arrangement as the currently followed interim arrangement of cash payment through government account will not continue beyond December 5. He added that the Urban Development department is also preparing an action plan to ensure that all urban local bodies started cashless transactions by March 31, 2017.