Some researchers have considered couple of factors which have actually caused demonetization in India. First one includes the refinancing of public sector banks in India. 80% of banks in India are run by government, during the last two decades these banks have been used to lend out loans to corporations which have strong political connections. These politically affiliated businesses do not paid back their money which has resulted into the accumulation of huge amount of non-performing assets (NPAs) within these banks. From last three years warning signals were continuously coming about their collapse. Through demonetization millions of poor people have deposited their meagre sums within these banks which have resulted into their refinancing, so that they can now lend the money to the same guys who earlier do not paid back their loans.
The second factor is the influence of technological and communications companies on the government, as these companies are among the fastest growing ones during the last two decades. Making payments through digital gate ways will be very beneficial for their growth. They can expand their influence over the whole human race. The statements from technological giants like Apple, Microsoft, MasterCard, Facebook, Google etc. clearly shows their intentions behind cashless society. Tim cook the chief executive of apple said that “next generation of children will not know what money is” as he promotes “apple pay” as an alternative. MasterCard executives consider apple pay as another step towards cashless society. According to mail online MasterCard is mining Facebook users data to get consumer behaviour information which it can sell to banks. Bill gates said India will shift to digital payments, as the digital world lets you track things quickly. The acquisition of artificial intelligence companies by Google, Facebook and Microsoft is also on its peak.
So what is actually going on, as private corporations and governments are desperate to introduce cashless economy through biometric payment system. India with few other countries like Australia, Denmark, South Korea, United Kingdom etc. are taking biometric signatures of their citizens irrespective of legal and technological loopholes into the system. Biometric identification systems like Aadhaar in India neither grants any right to domicile in India nor is it a proof of citizenship. Data Security Council of India in a report to “Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)” listed several security threats with a centralized data store house of Aadhaar.
In a biometric payment system parties need to download an app like “Aadhaar cashless app” in India on a Smartphone which can read biometric signatures like iris and fingerprints of a person. As the Aadhaar number is linked with bank account the biometric scan will act like a password for authenticating the transaction. Amount will be deducted from a bank account to which Aadhaar of a person is linked.
Actually Government of India is prepared to introduce cashless economy by facilitating financial transactions through digital devices which will use Aadhaar for the confirmation about the personal details of a person. Ajay Panday director general of “Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDIA)” said that “Aadhaar based transactions would be cashless, card less and pin less”. Android and other devices will enable a person to use their biometric signatures for authenticating a transaction. According to Ajay Panday government of India is collaborating with mobile phone manufacturers, merchants and banks for introducing biometric payment system. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said “we are asking mobile phone manufacturers to see if all mobiles made in India should be inbuilt with Iris and Thumb identification system to help Aadhaar enabled transactions”. He further said that efforts are being made to incentivize digital transactions and disincentive cash transactions. Government is also developing a mobile phone application for shopkeepers, so as to enable them to make transactions using Aadhaar, thus bypassing cash and card transactions. According to secretory of information technology in India “Aruna Sundarajan” India will spend Rs. 100 crores for incentivizing enrollment of merchants on digital platform.
It is not necessary that a civilized society should be cashless. In Germany more than 80% of transactions involve cash, as citizen freedom and privacy is protected in such transactions. Digital economy lacks trust; it will open a way for banks and owners of digital networks to enhance their control over human race. A fully cashless economy will be a disaster for the whole world; it will only serve the interests of oligarchs who are ruling the humanity. With the full introduction of cashless economy privacy, dissent and freedom of individuals would end. Every transaction like buying, selling, travelling, medication etc. will be under the radar of government. In countries like India, there are no privacy laws and the sensitive data of citizens is also under the constant threat of hackers, intelligence agencies and big corporations. Sensitive information of person can easily be used against him, like it can be used by private corporations for targeted advertisements. Any bodies account can be blocked for any reason which can serve the interest of government or private companies. John Naughton, author of the book “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg” said that the owners of tech companies are “robber barons” of our age. It is a digital dictatorship which has enslaved the humanity.
(An independent researcher, the writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)