Digital payments see huge surge in Ayodhya as city prepares for Ram Temple

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Ayodhya, Dec 22 (IANS) As the city prepares to welcome thousands of guests for the consecration ceremony of Ram Temple next month, real-time unified payments interface (UPI)-based digital payments have made life super easy for local vendors from all walks of lives here.

From boatmen on the banks of the Sarayu river to flower/prasad sellers at Hanuman Garhi, QR-code based payments have witnessed a meteoric rise in recent months.

“Digital payments have made my life easy as there is no running around for cash change. The money goes directly into my son’s bank account via UPI, which is such a relief for us,” Annu Manjhi, one of the 100-odd boatmen at the bank of Sarayu river, told IANS.

The government has launched the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra to help people understand the benefits of central government schemes at their doorsteps, and the rise in digital payments is a key message for millions.

The Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra is to raise awareness about and track the implementation of flagship central schemes, such as Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojana, PM Surkasha Bima, PM SVANidhi, etc.

According to Mohd Rashid Khan, 40, who lives in Sadar Bazar area in Ayodhya Cantt, UPI has instilled in him a new confidence.

“Cash handling was a headache as finding chutta (small change) was always a problem while buying daily stuff that needed small currency. Now with digital payments, that headache is gone and money reaches instantly and safely in my bank account,” said Khan, one of the beneficiaries of the government schemes.

Addressing a Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra event in Varanasi last week, PM Modi said: “With the Vikas Bharat Sankalp Yatra, I want to gauge if everything that I said has happened in the way I wanted to? Has it happened for those it was intended for?”

According to Ranjita Chauhan, 35, a resident of Sadar Bazar in Ayodhya Cantt, PM Modi has launched several good schemes and UPI is one of those.

“I can now buy things with just a few steps via my phone and do not carry any cash while going out. Digital payments is one of the best initiatives by the government which is helping people living at the margin earn and spend better,” she said.

India has witnessed an exceptional surge in UPI transactions, reaching a staggering 8,572 crore by December 11, 2023. UPI accounted for 62 per cent of digital payment transactions in FY2022-23. Starting at Rs 1 lakh crore in FY 2017-18, the value of UPI transactions has risen to Rs 139 lakh crore in FY 2022-23, reflecting a CAGR of 168 per cent.

At Hanuman Garhi, the 10th-century famous temple of Hanuman, Arvind Kumar Gupta has been selling laddus for years. According to him, UPI has become a boon for his business lately.

“Digital payments are increasing by the day as people who come from far flung areas of the country now prefer to pay for Prasad via QR code. This has made my life easy as money directly goes into my account and I do not need to go to the bank. Zero hassles. I see this is a great moment for India to become a less-cash economy going forward,” Gupta told IANS.

The Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra has four aims: “To reach out to the vulnerable who are eligible under various schemes but have not availed benefit so far; dissemination of information and generating awareness about schemes; interaction with beneficiaries of government schemes through their personal stories/ experience sharing; and enrolment of potential beneficiaries through details ascertained during the Yatra.”




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