From the first day of 2017, ten metro stations in Delhi were supposed to go cashless to promote digital transactions and a cashless economy. DMRC had earlier tied-up with Paytm to go completely cashless at these 10 metro stations.
The stations which were supposed to go cashless are Rohini East and Rohini West on the Red Line, MG Road Station on the Yellow Line, Mayur Vihar Phase I, Nirman Vihar, Tilak Nagar, Janakpuri West, and Noida Sector 15 on the Blue Line and Nehru Place and Kailash Colony on the Violet Line.
However, this plans has been spoiled by Arvind Kejriwal, who feels that this has been a forced decision without any logical decision making. Kejriwal has ordered an inquiry into this decision to see if Paytm was the only one taken up by DMRC.
“Over the counter cashless transactions have been deferred till we re-examine this issue,” a DMRC official said on this matter. “It’s being done forcefully, maybe as directed by the PMO. I will speak to Metro (authorities) and ask for the files. How can be they force a decision like this? They are promoting Paytm through this. I will seek an inquiry and look into the files,” Kejriwal told the reporters.
While the reason for delay seems quite illogical right now because the DMRC can choose to tie-up with any digital wallet company, it has been delayed for another rather flimsy reason that a lot of people who travel by the metro do not possess smartphones, let alone Paytm. Limiting the functionality to Paytm only can also be a bigger issue for a first few days.
DMRC had already clarified that Paytm won this contract through an open tender, and once this pilot gets successful, other mobile wallets will also be added. Considering it is just a pilot, the Government shouldn’t have put a complete halt on the execution.
When and how does DMRC intend to go cashless?
On 24th December, 2016, DMRC had announced its plans to go cashless on ten stations. This meant that metro passengers and users would be able to purchase tickets and pay for their ride using a digital wallet, Paytm.
Mangu Singh, DMRC Chief, said, “The cashless transactions for token and smart card purchase or top up at these stations can be done through Paytm by using QR-code, which will be displayed at token counters or customer care centre of these stations.”
In fact, DMRC also said that even then one counter will be for those who want to use cash. So even though it is not completely cash because you cannot rule out the possibility of Indians holding cash, most of the counters will be cashless to promote digital economy.
Any kind of refund would also be done on Paytm itself, so that no mode of cash is involved in anything. It is easier and simpler, and allows people to not rely on cash notes for transportation. However, the Delhi Government has plans to see why only Paytm was chosen, and how DMRC plans to execute it.
Arvind Kejriwal has been against demonetization from the beginning, and hence he has requested DMRC officials to provide a report that outlines the execution practice and how the public with benefit from it. We hope to see smaller queues at the stations, and a faster way to move around.